Monthly Archives: January 2017
Monthly Archives: January 2017
There plenty of things that can grind you down if you let them. Nothing can effect without your consent but ubiquitous litter is a depressing sight and can blight your mood in an instant.
I see litter from the moment I step out of my house. It begins with the discarded fag packets, sweet wrappers, and drink tin on the nearby path. This is a mere foretaste of what is to come.
Within a few miles you can see ample evidence of the irresponsible tossers, for tossers they are – anyone who tosses litter out of their vehicle is by definition a tosser.
The local council does a good job of keeping the streets clean but it’s a never ending task. The street cleaners will never be short of work. Step outside the urban areas and you are immediately struck by volume of detritus thrown out of passing vehicles.
Any new road where the fresh verges are seeded can expect to attract a sprinkling of discarded cans and bottles within days. They are particular noticeable at junctions where vehicles come to a halt and drivers toss them out without a thought.
Car parks are another favourite spot for the litter louts. Judging by the location and the type of rubbish it looks as if they park up to consume junk food and then simply dump the remains where they sit.
There are litter bins nearby of course, but that would mean getting out of the car. That’s not going to happen, unless it’s to buy more food and drink of course. Even then a drive-through is preferable.
Some litter is avoidable with a little more care and attention. Open the windows of a vehicle at speed on a motorway for example and anything left on the dashboard is likely to blow out. Pieces of plastic and polystyrene blow of building sites. With adequate precautions all this could be prevented just as an open truck load needs to have a cover.
However, there is no excuse for dumping your commercial waste in country lanes. Flytipping is the equivalent of visiting someone’s home and defecating on the front lawn.
Some flytippers will moan increased charges at the local recycling centre or some other whine about the cost of disposing of their loads. Why don’t they simply add a few pounds their fees to pay for legal disposal? I guess it’s pointless putting such questions to people who are so low on the integrity scale.
(Note: Report flytipping wherever you see it so that it can be dealt with as soon as possible using the website FixMyStreet.com.)
Why do dog owners go as far as picking up and bagging the poo but then through the back into hedge and trees? I once went for a walk on Dartmoor and a tree near the car park was festooned with these bags, fluttering in the wind like old prayer flags and pagan offerings.
In urban areas they risk being fined (not to mention provoking confrontations with passers-by) but away from prying eyes there is this half-hearted approach of bag it and toss it.
Where people are desperately poor the mounds of rubbish are a means to survival and dealing with what’s left is too expensive. What’s our excuse in the developed world?
Flytipping and tossing litter out of vehicles seems to be a symptom of a deeper malaise, a nihilistic view of life. It’s the same emptiness that generates drinking to the point of poisoning or eating to morbid obesity both of which causing immense and preventable strain on the NHS.
We pour plastics into the oceans and create great rafts of refuse that float indefinitely on the oceans. Sea birds and marine life eat our effluent and poison themselves and those further up the food chain, including ourselves.
It has taken a great deal of effort on the part of volunteers to clear up the debris left by climbers at Everest’s base camps. Who goes to such places only to despoil them in this way?
On both sides of the Atlantic millions of people have been asking the question, “How did this happen? Why did we lose?”.
How they laughed when it was first announced that Trump might run for President. How they scoffed at the very idea the the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland might one day leave the European Union.
Well, Trump is in now in the White House and the Brexit juggernaut is rolling, albeit around some obstacles put in its path. The causes for both events will no doubt be debated for a long while yet but there are already some reasons that now seem undeniable.
A quick google reveals that about 63 million Americans voted for Trump but over 90 million didn’t vote at all. As they say over there, go figure.
I wonder what percentage of those who didn’t vote were on the Women’s Marches or have spent many hours on social media bemoaning the fate of their respective countries.
Another reason often cited as the cause of these so called catastrophes is varying degrees on ignorance, gullibility, and bigotry among those who voted to leave the EU or put Trump in the White House.
I would be the first to agree that there are some pretty dim people out there but to suggest that tens of millions of people are unable to make rational decision for themselves and their families, having weighed up all the arguments for and against, is wildly inaccurate and very condescending.
After the Brexit referendum some people went as far as suggesting that certain people shouldn’t be allowed to vote at all. They suggested that some voters were either too old to make decisions that would have long term effects or that they were too stupid to know what’s good for them. This patronising viewpoint is one often heard uttered by the Eurocrats. Leave it to the experts, they know what’s best for us, eh boys?
This is another favourite excuse used by many to explain who things have turned out as they have done. It doesn’t occur to them that many immigrants and descendants of immigrants voted to leave the EU for reasons they can explain perfectly well for themselves.
If a white person said what is said on these clips people would be quick to whip out the tired old excuses of racism and xenophobia. The truth is that they believe that while immigration has benefits you can have too much of a good thing, and that stricter controls and stronger entry requirements isn’t at all xenophobic but just sensible governance:
In this next clip we see an American gentleman, “Big Joe” who is perfectly capable of making his point among crowds of people who were protesting the day after Trump’s inauguration.
One woman shouts, “You’re on a bicycle and you’re oblivious!” – not sure what’s wrong with being on a bicycle. Big Joe replies, “Political Correctness is un-American!”
I urge you to watch it to the end as the debate becomes a bit more articulate as it goes on.
Take your pick. I’m sure there will be plenty to choose from. The worst so far is the fact that Trump has signed the executive order to push ahead with the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Imagine if Clinton were now in the White House and Britain had voted to remain in the EU. What would change? I would bet very little, except perhaps that Hillary would probably have to keep Bill on a tight leash:
Things would grind on just as they had before with no major problems resolved and things getting progressively worse for many.
Instead, we are witnessing a big rush of energy entering the political world and things are turning upside down. Those on the Left who have always seen themselves as champions of freedom and democracy are becoming more and more censorial and authoritarian.
Meanwhile, more people are turning to the Right as they lose faith in the liberal and centre politicians who have failed to listen to their concerns and grievances and who have brought in changes that have transformed their communities and countries without consultation nor consent.
This energy is shaking things up. It’s removing some of that smug complacency (from both voters and politicians) and reminding us all that our votes do make a difference.
It’s reminding us that our democracy is a precious thing, and that we should never again leave it to others to make decisions for us.
By all means make your voices heard but don’t smash windows and burn cars. Burning the limousine belonging to a Muslim immigrant doesn’t do your cause any favours. Nor does bullying and intimidating Trump supporters simply because you disagree with their points of view.
Is a hijab an appropriate symbol to use in the Women’s March of January 22nd? Again, depends on your point of view. If you’re one of the organisers bemoaning the fact that 22 states in the US don’t allow Sharia law then it’s probably part of your agenda.
If on the other hand you feel the way this woman does, then it is not appropriate:
It breaks my heart, as someone who is forced to wear this atrocity since the age of 11 (I am 25 now), to see them celebrating the tool of my oppression. Being a hijabi has denied me so many rights, I feel offended right now. I don’t see how this is standing up for minorities. I am a full grown woman who lives a submissive life because she can’t afford to be independent, and has to do things she doesn’t approve of so that she can have something to eat. My parents have threatened repeatedly to throw me on the streets if I ever take it off. Millions of girls are denied their basic rights because of the hijab mentality. Why aren’t you standing up for them?”
I’ve been researching and experimenting with this area of online enterprise for some time so it was a pleasant surprise to find some free training in affiliate marketing provided by experts in this field.
Affilorama was founded by a chap called Mark Ling. He also happens to be a millionaire and he achieved this status through affiliate marketing.
Now he spends this time running a business that teaches others what he has learned. He is at the top of the ladder but he’s reaching down to help others up and the best bit about it is that some of those lessons are free of charge.
Mark started out on the ground floor, experimenting and learning as he delved into the world of affiliate marketing. He enjoyed some early success but like many who didn’t know what was ahead he was hit heavily by the Google algorithm changes. Sales dropped dramatically and success turned into failure and debt.
Dismayed and disillusioned he returned to the day job. However, the prospect of a lifetime at the coal face working for someone else was too depressing to contemplate so he gathered his energies together and launched back into the project.
Having applied what he’d already learned and added new techniques he found a way through and made his fortune.
So Mark Ling is like a pathfinder. He’s walked the whole route, found a way around or over obstacles, and now he’s ready to show you the way. What he has done others can do.
Not only that but a significant chunk of the material he’s put online is available free of charge. So now you’ve got now excuse for not starting your own journey into affiliate marketing.
Here’s the link to over 100 FREE lessons in affiliate marketing.
If you have any experience already in this subject then you will probably already be aware of the basic formula; finding profitable products to promote etc, so this list of categories will come as no surprise.
While they may not seem a revelation the important thing to remember is that they are the essential fundamentals. If you can master these then you can build a successful business.
* How to research and choose products that are worth the effort that goes into promotion
* How to design and create websites that will keep visitors on the page and engage with them
* How to optimise those websites for on-page and off-page search engine optimisation
* How to generate instant pay per click traffic with the right keywords and ad groups
* How to hire talented people who will grow your business by taking on the tasks you delegate to them
The videos are clear, concise, and not too long, so your focus and attention is maintained. This is the secret to absorbing knowledge piece by piece.
The training videos are categorised and displayed in such a way that you can work through them one by one if you’re a complete beginner. Alternatively, if you already have some experience you can cherry-pick and only watch those you feel are relevant to you.
However, I would suggest you use all of them for revision. All to often, what we think we know and what we actually remember is not what was originally taught. It’s easy to become complacent and revision is a way of filling in blanks or reminding us of things we have forgotten.
This is a course that would suit people with or without affiliate marketing experience.
By signing up you also get access to the Affilorama forums. Here you can ask questions and read the answers posted in reply to those from other students. It’s a mine of useful information and one of the richest you’ll find and the Affilorama staff often drop in to add their opinions and comments.
There’s a lot of free material here to get your teeth into but sooner or later you’ll probably want to change gear and move into more advanced topics. You’ll want to use the sort of tools that the full time affiliate marketers use.
As you might expect (this is a business after all) there is a subscription fee for these other sections of the Affilorama site but they do occasionally offer one dollar trials of the Premium subscription. You won’t know about these unless you’re already signed up as a free member so register now and stay tuned.
Free training in affiliate marketing provided by a millionaire and his team who have walked the walk.
There are thousands of sites and videos providing affiliate marketing tips. I’ve made some mistakes and also enjoyed a few successes in this area, so here are a few additional tips you may not have seen.
When the full blown web began to emerge in the 1990s I was already employed in IT. I saw it as a time of opportunity and began to look into networking and websites. As a result I have enjoyed over two decades of gainful employment as a Network Engineer and Webmaster.
Unfortunately though, learning how something works isn’t as lucrative as figuring out what to do with it. That’s why I’m writing this when it’s -2 degrees outside in England instead of sitting at my laptop in a holiday home in the Caribbean.
Anyway, I count my blessings, and although I haven’t become a dotcom millionaire I have learned a fair bit by trial and error. Most trials end in error and that’s part of the process of reaching a goal. The trick is to keep going.
Affiliate marketing is the art and science of creating websites (and/or mailing lists) and using them to promote goods and services in such a way that visitors click on links and make purchases through links provided on the site.
You promote a product or service, link to it, and the website visitor clicks on that link and buys from the supplier. In return you are rewarded with some commission on the sale. This can be anything from 1-12% or even more. It all depends on the affiliate agreement.
Simple really, isn’t it? Except it’s not. For this to work you have to achieve the following:
I have built websites that convert but in my eagerness to develop the idea I have built too many, too fast. This soaked up resources (time and money) so what little was gained from the successful ones was being spent on others that did not succeed.
It’s so easy now to setup a website. Most hosting companies provide packages that will register your domain name, install WordPress, and give you a working website with a few clicks. The temptation is to extrapolate your imagined success too far with unrealistic expectations.
Tip Number 1: Learn how to nurture and grow a tree before you plant a forest
Tool for this tip: Your brain, lots of free advice online, and a business plan.
The second error is one of the fundamentals. Get this wrong and everything that comes after is a waste of your time and resources. Keyword research is essential.
It can be exciting to come up with a new idea and allow yourself to be carried along in a rush of enthusiasm. You start to convince yourself that you’ve found the next hot seller with low competition and high demand.
You build the site, fill it full of content, and wait for the money to roll in. As time goes by your hard work pays off and surfers begin to find your site. However, sales are zero you realise you’ve made as website that attracts visitors who are not buyers. They were seeking information but they were not ready to buy anything.
Tip Number 2: Keyword research is half the battle. If you’ve succeeded here conversions and commission will follow.
The web is evolving all the time. Google updates its algorithm, trends and tastes change, technology evolves, and websites that once looked new and fresh begin to appear out of date. It’s surprising how quickly that new design tires and you begin to view a site as a relic.
While all this is going on there may be other sites competing with your own for the same keywords. If you don’t keep an eye them they will get ahead of you and start to take more and more of the traffic.
Tip Number 3: Stay current and informed. Audit and review regularly. Keep an eye on the performance of not only your own sites but of you competition too.
Entrepreneurs and business coaches often remind us of the one essential thing that unites us all: we all get just 24 hours per day.
Another common piece of advice they offer is that we should cultivate the habit of doing our essential tasks first, before we check emails and social media. By doing so we ensure that day after day we get some productivity out of our time, even if it’s followed by more time wasting.
How often are you distracted? How many times during the day do you pause the work you know you should be doing and instead click on anyone of several social media accounts to check for; updates, likes, responses, news, current affairs, comedy, controversy, disasters, or some other way of wasting your time?
Social media has many positive uses but are you using it or is it using you?
Resist the temptation to scroll through your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram feed. The chances are you’ll check once and get sucked in again. You might even start with something that seems valuable, like an update in your business related Facebook group or a video about SEO, but then you realise another hour has gone by and now you’re watching a guy shark fishing in the Philippines or wondering why your friend shared that particular post.
Tip Number 4: Become and expert in time management. Develop the self discipline to avoid distractions and get on with taking steps toward your goal.
Tools for this tip: It’s a habit you have to develop, so this one is down to you and your own self discipline. You could set up reminders and alarms to nag you each morning too.
Training is very important, there’s no doubt about that, but there comes a point where you have to complete the course and get on with some productive activity by putting what you’ve learned into practice.
However, what sometimes happens is that somehow you learn of another course and you begin to wonder if this one reveals more information and more important techniques. Before you know it you’ve paid another fee for a series of lectures and video modules which will take you another month to complete thoroughly.
At the end of this next month you realise that you’ve not got any closer to your goals, you’re a month older, and your bank balance is further diminished.
Tip Number 5: Make use of the free material online and choose one good course in: affiliate marketing, internet marketing, and SEO
Tools for this tip:
Plenty of FREE material about affiliate marketing available on these sites:
I’ve suggested these three because you can choose which accent you prefer! There are other reputable and reliable sites too.
Recommended training for affiliate marketing, SEO, and internet marketing:
I end this post by pointing out one important thing I learned in 2016 and that is the fact that video marketing is growing fast and in 2017 it will continue to grow. Even if you build well designed, responsive websites which look good on desktop and mobile devices you should not underestimate the importance of adding video marketing.
This may seem like a expensive and difficult new skill to master but it’s actually quite easy. You can turn a blog post or article into a video in a matter of an hour or two using a tool called Content Samurai.
With practice you can get this down to under an hour. Briefly, all you do is copy and paste your text into a dashboard. The software scans it and creates slides. You can edit them then add pictures from their repository or upload your own (and video clips, if you want to). You can then add a narration of your own or one that’s been done for you, or none at all.
They offer a free trial so register at their site and try it for yourself.
It’s an unfortunate fact of life that the Police are placing more and more reliance upon the public to provide evidence of crimes before they will investigate thoroughly. However, there are distinct advantages to installing covert cameras that go beyond the evidence gathering when crimes occur. In this post I explain several reasons why home security cameras are a great idea and why I think you should invest in some.
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.
Home security cameras can be categorised into the three main types:
You’ll sometimes see them referred to as IP cameras (Internet Protocol) because they are devices connected to your LAN (Local Area Network) in the home, just like your computer, laptop, mobile phone, or tablet computer.
There are hundreds on the market and the technology is evolving.
A single bullet camera installed on the outside of your home can keep a watch on your vehicle parking area as well as your front garden. In urban areas it is often the case that you have no option but to park on a driveway that is just off the road. Your vehicle is therefore exposed to any passing miscreant with mischief in mind.
If your vehicle, caravan, or motorcycle is of particular monetary value and importance to you then the risk of theft or vandalism is greater.
If another driver reverses into your drive and collides with your vehicle then your bullet camera will capture the event. It will make your insurance claim so much easier if you have video footage of the incident that clearly exonerates you and shows what really happened. Without this evidence you are left to explain the damage and your insurers may not believe your story. You may also be able to read the number plate of the vehicle and you can then pass this on to the Police.
The same advantages in terms of insurance claims, exoneration, apportioning blame, and helping the Police in the event of an accident occurring within your field of view are also reasons for installation a dash cam in your vehicle.
Just as fake security cameras in shops can act as a deterrent to shoplifting so too can real home security cameras deter thieves. They are almost certainly going to be real cameras and they’ll be filming anything that moves. Given the choice between ten houses in a street, nine of which have cameras installed and one does not, it is a fairly safe bet that the house without the additional security is likely to be the burglar’s next target.
The same is true of alarms, but the cameras have all the additional benefits. A house alarm is a deterrent and it may be monitored, so it can alert the neighbourhood and perhaps the Police, but it’s the security cameras that collect the evidence.
Obviously, to be a deterrent the camera has to be seen by the would-be thief. In the clip below the trespasser hasn’t seen the camera but a clear image of his face is captured in the footage.
Sadly, not everyone who is entrusted with the responsibilities of looking after children, adults, or pets has the integrity and professionalism to do so properly. Let’s face it, some people are just downright cruel. They may hurt or abuse (physically, emotionally, or verbally) those in their care, steal from them, or just behave in an unprofessional manner by neglecting to carry out those tasks that you have delegated to them.
An indoor security camera can be left in place and on clear display as a deterrent, or a covert camera can be installed to capture evidence if you suspect any wrongdoing but haven’t got any proof.
This is particularly useful for occasions when you have to hire temporary staff, and of course it refers to all kinds of staff or contractors, not just nannies; carers, cleaners, tradesmen, builders, house/pet sitters etc.
Many pet owners have no option but to leave their pets alone in the house or flat. This can be a source of worry for the owner and anxiety for the pet.
A home security camera can be used to check up on a pet while you’re at work or absent for any other reason. Some models can now transmit sound and video so you can even speak to your pet and reassure them with a visual and aural message.
Many people who have installed home security cameras have discovered that they capture all kinds of wildlife passing through their gardens at night. Foxes are of course common in urban areas, but some cameras have also captured footage of badgers, deer, and other mammals.
Outdoor cameras can be pointed out bird feeding areas where they can capture footage not only of the more common garden birds but also the occasional rare visitor.
If your garden is particularly active you might want to consider adding a wildlife camera specifically designed for the task, just like the trail cameras we so often see on wildlife documentaries.
Communities and neighbourhoods that cooperate and communicate with each other are safer than those in which everyone is a stranger and no one talks to their neighbours. The scheme works in close association with the Police and has proved its worth many times throughout the UK.
By joining your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme you can meet others who have also installed home security cameras and share tips and ideas with them.
You can cooperate with your neighbours and use your security devices to deter anti-social behaviour and crimes of any sort.
As the population grows and budgets for the Police seem to be diminishing rather than increasing the public are being called up on to help both deter crime and provide evidence when it has occurred.
A security camera installed on the outside of your home may capture the movements of a criminal or terrorist suspect passing by on the street. That small piece of footage may be of great value to the security services.
Indoor and outdoor cameras may capture evidence that convicts anyone who vandalises your property, steals from you, or commits acts of violence against you or your family.
The subject of home security cameras and CCTV surveillance is the subject of rigorous debate, with strong views held on either side of the argument. On the one had there is the case for deterring crime, and gathering evidence and intelligence. On the other hand there is the increasing amount of intrusion into our daily lives, and near constant surveillance.
For example, here in the UK there are thousands of CCTV cameras filming us as we pass through urban areas. In Germany there are far fewer as the consensus has been that they are a violation of privacy. However, in light of the December 2016 terror attack in Berlin (and the lack of intelligence and footage of the attacker) it may be that the German people and government agree to more CCTV cameras being installed in the streets of their major cities at least.
Some of the more well known and popular brands are Y-Cam and D-Link and both companies have an extensive range available on Amazon. I’ve used both and I’m quite happy with the results. Check that you’re buying the latest version of the camera and read the reviews. You’ll find the vast majority of the reviews are positive.
If you have any feedback, suggestions, or tips you’d like to share please do so in the comments below.