Microsoft Announces Windows 10

Ugh, too much Microsoft news for my taste. So Microsoft this last week revealed Windows 10 for the first time. I gotta say, between the naming of the X-box One and Windows 10 and the purchase of Minecraft for $2.5, I feel like Microsoft is incredibly bad with numbers and math. For realsies though, Microsoft is skipping Windows 9 because a lot of programs look for “Windows 9*” when determining your operating system thanks to Windows 95 and Windows 98. This created a programming problem with some things that worked fine with the code, but because of the name of Windows 9, would have gotten screwed up. Woulda been nice if they kept to nontraditional naming like XP and Vista a little longer, but oh well.

I have seen someone doing a quick run through of some of the features that they have showed off so far. I have an overall meh towards it. They added multiple desktops where you can basically create save states of what windows you have open and switch between those states on the fly. This was a much needed addition to Windows and am happy to see it. So far that seems like the biggest addition.

You can keep the start screen of Windows 8 if you want, but the reality is that only touch screen users will do so. Otherwise all those tiles now have a place in the start menu which is finally returning. I don’t particularly like this as I feel that it makes the start menu seem really bloated. The weird thing about Windows 7 and 8 is that I really love the Windows 8 start screen, but I don’t love that they got rid of windows and the start menu and the task bar as those things made using Windows on the PC less frustrating. I would love it if the desktop was the start screen of Windows 8, but you still had windows over the top as normal and the start menu and everything. So basically remove the icons of windows 7 and earlier and replace it with the Windows 8 Start Screen. Allow for people to customize it with backgrounds still, it really is a style change (preferably allow people to choose which way they like best).

Honestly, I always kind of liked the idea of desktop widgets from Windows 7, but there really weren’t many widgets worth having and it tended to slow down the system more than it was worth. And in this day and age I also think that icons are in need of a desperate update, and honestly I thought the look of Windows 8 was very attractive.  So I’d be all about making that what I saw all the time. I don’t understand why Microsoft needs to make it a one or the other proposition… Why can’t I have the good thing about Windows 8 and the good things about Windows 7 at the same freaking time? Why do I have to choose which one I am using right now? Microsoft, I continue to be baffled by your more recent moves.

Will I get it? I don’t know. So far Microsoft hasn’t shown a lot. I suppose it depends on whether the gaming community follows. A lot of developers went out and said they would not build games for Windows 8 because it was that appalling to them, will they come back for 10? Is there really anything different from 10 to 7 that requires the purchase? I don’t know the answer to these questions right now so I will watch as more info comes in. Right now I would lean to probably not worth the $100 investment for my old PC to upgrade. Probably worth it for any new PC that I have to get a new operating system for (which I actually am looking at right now).

Thoughts on Blogspot

Recently, I noticed that blogspot/blogger had updated to give users a little more control over their blogs, because of that I decided to give it another shot after years of absence. There are a few advantages to blogspot in particular over hosting yourself or WordPress’ similar service.

First, unlike WordPress, you can actually post your own advertisements on your blog on blogspot which means it is a lot closer to your own hosted blog. You have a potential to actually make money (not that there is real money to be made on blogs anymore). Not only do they allow you to throw in your own ad links, they build in google adsense into it. This makes sense, after all Blogspot is owned by Google so why not? But this is a far cry from WordPress’ strict no advertising policy. Continue reading “Thoughts on Blogspot”

Plated: A Review

One of my favorite kinds of Groupons is the kind that gives you discounts to food. I’ve gotten tons of them over the years and it is this fact that makes me feel that it is too bad that Groupon seems to get less and less restaurants to ante up for them as time goes by. However, a few weeks ago, I did notice one new groupon that didn’t really get advertised much but seems to be rather awesome. And that is Plated. The idea behind Plated is that they get chefs to provide them with fairly easy to cook recipes and then send those recipes to you along with everything you need to cook it. What a great idea! Continue reading “Plated: A Review”

Money Website Update & Tricks

Several months ago I had an entry about other ways of making money. After that post, I kept up on trying to earn extra cash for a good month before giving up. Some of the sites netted me no money after a couple of months of effort. Some offered some money but not enough to warrant the effort. Recently though in an effort to pay for Christmas presents without going broke, I got back into a few of them and learned some tricks as well.

Continue reading “Money Website Update & Tricks”

Obama vs. Romney

I have already voted. I voted last Thursday, thanks to a two week early voting period in Wisconsin. I was very happy about this because my recent move made it so that I had to re-register and I wasn’t particularly fond of doing this in the election day hassle. My point is, I am no longer influenced at all by what is going on the election, my work is done. However, I thought I’d share my opinions on this election.

1) Republicans had a shot with me. When Romney made statements talking about how Obama hasn’t made the change he promised, I’m actually one who perked his ears and agreed. I’ve been very disappointed with Obama considering the promises that he made in 2008. The problem was, that was the extent at which Romney tried to grab me. He was right that Obama didn’t live up to his promise, but he didn’t offer any other options. So Obama got my vote. Instead he ignored the people he was pleading with for a vote and instead tried to appease the Tea Party. I’m sorry, you are really going to make that statement, ignore me and then make statements to appease the whack jobs of the country? No thank you, Mitt.

2) Related to #1… I wish John McCain had run again. I really liked McCain and even said to people that if it wasn’t for Barack Obama, I would have voted for him. Well assuming he didn’t have Sarah Palin as a running mate. I’d assume he wouldn’t make that mistake again. Now that Obama fell out of favor, I really would have. Why don’t parties allow guys to run twice anyway? I know statistically speaking the chances are low if you couldn’t beat the guy the first time. However, when has the last time that this actually happened to allow statistics to count?

3) I think it is ironic that Republicans made a big deal in 2004 about the flip-flopping of John Kerry and don’t seem to mind Mitt Romney doing it. This happens a lot with both parties but it is still weird seeing such blatant hypocrisy. I mean really, Romney makes Kerry look like a stubborn mule about his opinions. Kerry changed his opinions because he was a really intelligent man and actually sat and thought about what he was saying. As far as I can tell, Romney makes opinions dependent on others telling him what his opinion really is. You tell me which is worse, I would I rather it be someone who makes up their own mind but then Republicans don’t seem to like people who think for themselves.

4) Really? Paul Ryan? WTF? This guy, along with Scott Walker, is bringing Wisconsin back to a Joe McCarthy time for representatives and it makes me sad that we elect him somehow. And yet, despite being an utter crack pot AND despite his own guys telling him not to, Romney picks him for VP? Well I guess he made up his own mind on something, but it makes me want to retract my previous statement because if you are this stupid Mitten Romney, I guess I’d rather others just make your decisions for you.

5) There is an appeal in my mind of having the electorate tie and Mitt Romney being president with Joe Biden being Vice President. You get two un-charismatic politicians sticking their foots in their mouths constantly and making themselves and the country looking bad. They’d constantly be at each other’s throats which would make for an interesting 4 years. This really is the premise of a good sitcom and it would be funny to watch. I think it would be terrible for the country as a whole and would probably lead to changes in how ties are broken. Not to worry, the chances of this actually happening are astronomically small even in a close race. My bet is that if one of the electors saw it going to a tie, that they would go faithless just to break the tie.

6) The possibility of another 2000 race where Obama wins the electorate but not the popular vote is there. I don’t think it’s going to happen at all, but it is definitely there. The fact that Romney is making last ditch efforts in Pennsylvania tells you that Romney is looking for other electors to win because he is losing by too much elsewhere. That it could happen twice in 20 years and the country is becoming more polarized every year tells me that we should probably change how the country elects a president. After all, the electorate was created as a means to allow people to get the popular vote because this was before telephone and telegraph, let alone internet. Steve Israel from NY proposed giving the popular vote winner bonus elector votes which I think is a pretty decent idea. I think it needs to be tweaked on how. The two suggestions I have is to either make the point total equal the greatest votes any state has (Currently 55 for California) or have a sliding scale based on margin of victory on popular vote. At the very least I wish more states went the route of Nebraska and Maine and split their votes based on how people in the state voted.

7) Poor Puerto Rico doesn’t get any national coverage on its election this week, but it’s a biggy and could have political repercussions on our political system. Puerto Rico will be voting to become a state or become a more independent country this week. This one has a bigger push to make a decision to either be a state or move independent. They’ve been suffering harshly from the current world recession and this could have a deciding factor in making a change. The vote doesn’t mean they will do one thing or another but both Romney and Obama have declared that they will support whatever decision comes from the vote and try to move it forward. It’s entirely possible that in 2016 or 2020 there will be 51 states in the union and Puerto Rico’s 6 or 7 electoral votes will be a pretty big deal. Nobody really knows at this point just where it’d go but my guess is that it would lean Democrat. Coverage of this vote is so low that I don’t even know how the polls are trending, just days before the vote. Good luck Puerto Rico!

8) The advertising this year is ridiculous and I say that every election, but this year it really was. I live in southern Wisconsin. Which means I am not only in a swing state for the presidency  I’m also in a very close and heated senate race, and I am in range of Paul Ryan trying to get re-elected to congress whilst running for Vice President even though I can’t even vote on Ryan. 1 Do you see the problem here? On average, I get between 4 and 6 campaign commercials in each ad block while watching television. I’d also count that we only get between 8 and 10 ads during each block. Which means more than half of all commercials are for these damn races. I turn on the news I hear about these ass holes. I turn on SNL I hear about them. I open a paper, turn on the internet. I am sick of everyone in this race and I want none of them to win but I feel that I need to vote for the lesser of two evils anyway. And yes, I am sorry to contribute.

Other Ways of Earning Money

In my last post, I talked a lot about writing as a second job. Well the inherent problem with that is that it doesn’t exactly get me money right away. I am totally dedicated to the idea, but it is a long term method of gaining money, rather than an immediate method. I have developed a few other things where I might be able to get some extra cash here and there to supplement my income and thought I’d go through them.

Most of these ideas in reality are kind of pyramid schemes. They are rewards programs of various sorts on the internet. I don’t expect that these things make me rich or anything, but if I get $5 here and there, why not? You know? I have checked a lot of these sites out and have been trying to relegate myself to only going to services which require little work for decent rewards. I also have not been interested in scams wherein I only get rewards for signing up for things and giving out a crap ton of personal information for a few measly bucks.

MyPoints

I actually started using MyPoints 6 or 7 years ago now. The original idea I had with them was to get points in order to help save for a trip to Disney World. I figured that I could use the points for gift certificates to aid in hotel costs and/or car rentals while down in Flordia. I still could do that but it isn’t as much of a focus as it used to be. Over the last few years I started turning in my points for gift certificates to various places which I then gave to people as presents. It has been a life saver during some hard times because of that. They have many ways for earning points, from clicking on email offers, little lotteries, buying stuff off their site, doing polls, or signing up for stuff. I actually have waned a bit on this service in recent months but I still like their concept.

Ebates

My latest emphasis on these incentive programs has been from the discovery of ebates. If I shop through ebates website, I gain cash back. This definitely beats out MyPoints points back. There are actually a few of these type pages and to a certain extent I have compared them, and for most things I side with ebates. They also give a gift card just for signing up, so overall not a bad gig. I highly suggest signing up for it.

Bing Rewards

I don’t particularly like Bing, and I don’t suggest you use them. After all, they literally just take their search results from Google so why not just use Google right? However, in order to entice people to use their site, they bribe you. And well whatever, if they want me to use their site and get free stuff then I will do so. Generally every day they have you click on something to get 3 credits, and then you can do 20 searches to get another 10. I generally search complete gibberish just to get the quick credits. They used to have some really cool rewards, but now they just give away amazon, x-box live, and groupon giftcards, plus subscriptions to hulu. I will usually take the $5 Groupon giftcard, then buy something on Groupon. For instance, I recently bought $15 worth of food for only $2.50 with the gift card, and then I did it through ebates which got me another $.23 back. Not bad really. Only takes a few minutes a day and I wager you could get a $5 gift card once every couple of months. Worth signing up for.

Swagbucks

Another newer one for me. I don’t really use this one as much as some people do, I’ve heard of some people earning tons of cash on this. I’ve been signed up for about a month and earned $5 on amazon. They have a ton of stuff you can redeem for including gift cards, electronics, and even baseball cards. But from what I’ve heard the $5 amazon gift card is the most efficient, but you can only do like 5 of the same thing per month, which people often beat, but not me. You can earn a number of ways including using their search engine, doing their daily poll, using their toolbar, watching their videos, signing up for things, doing other polls, etc. I generally just use the toolbar, do the daily poll, and use the search engine. Sometimes I will run their videos in the background, but you only get like 3-5 points per 10 videos watched so this isn’t entirely efficient, it only works cause I’m not paying attention. It isn’t bad, I seem to be able to earn enough points to get gift cards fairly quickly and if you really use it right, you could earn a lot.

Instant Cash Sweepstakes

I have a love-hate relationship with ICS. It is really easy to sit and do the surveys, but it really doesn’t pay well. Each survey consists of 3 questions, you gain tickets and coins and sometimes cash for answering each. Sometimes you get modifiers which get you even more tickets and coins. Tickets automatically enter you into the daily $50 cash prize. And then you can use coins for either entering into a $2 prize that draws every 3 hours, or you can use them to buy more tickets. You can only do like 7 surveys every 3 hours, and i have entered probably around 25 on average per day every day for the last month… I have never won any of the sweepstakes and have only $3.82 to show for my work. On the bright side, I can already withdraw that money, it is cash not a gift card, and as you do more surveys, you get higher in level and get to do more surveys per 3 hours and get more tickets and coins per survey done. I also think you have a higher chance at getting a slightly higher cash prize for doing surveys (so .05 instead of .01 for a survey). It is a site I do most consistently, but one I also get most frustrated with. <sigh>

Paid Viewpoint

This site is done by the same guys as ICS. It is essentially the same idea but you have longer surveys to complete, get more money per survey, no sweepstakes involved, and has a big giant level instead of a bunch of shorter levels to gain. They only give you a single survey a day (and sometimes not even). But to give it a comparison, after a month of filling out surveys, I am at $5.09. It takes much less effort than ICS and has a much better payout, but obviously ICS has the upside in that you could win big…

I’ve tried a few other sites in addition to these, but have had little to no interest and or return. As I said in the beginning some seem like big scams, some don’t let you progress because they are too new, and some just don’t make sense. At best some just seem like they take too long to get any rewards.

I figure the above is enough to keep my occupied for any given amount of time. They give me the ability to get a gift card and/or cash once a month on average and the hope is that with these I can lower the cost of living and thus be able to pay off more bills faster. It isn’t much, but money is money, and this stuff is stuff that I can easily do in between tasks at work.