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.

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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.

Hulu Plus

Hulu Plus

Hulu recently made their much awaited announcement of a subscription based plan which allows you to pay for Hulu. Why would you pay for a free service? Well that has always been the question that buggers free services. Hulu’s answer for Plus was to provide full current seasons of new shows, full seasons from old shows, higher resolution, and the ability to watch it on different platforms such as your TV if you happen to own a TV that supports it.

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