Shopping Website Boo Boo

Wow! Did you hear about the 1.6 million dollar loss incurred by 6pm.com, a shopping website that's a sister company of Zappos?

Apparently, someone accidentally listed all its items for $49.95. Everything. Luxury items valued at thousands of dollars? $49.95. Of course, shoppers jumped on that like a bee on a honeysuckle bloom.

I told my husband about this, and his comment was hysterically funny. "Wonder if they sold golf carts?" He's been shopping for a golf cart. As if my straight-arrow, scrupulously honest husband would have taken advantage of a situation like that. He'd have been the one to email the company to point out their error.

It's easy to see how someone could have made that kind of error. Scenario: a tekkie is filling out a form and clicks "set as default."

Takeaway Truth

Always proof your work whether you're writing content or filling out a form.

Those Dirty Mice

I've been complaining about my mouse lately. It seems to jump all over the place. Last night I had an A Ha! moment. Of course, it needed cleaning.

So here's a quick tip for you today. This is for those of us who eat and drink at the computer. (A seriously bad habit of which I'm guilty!) Get in the habit of regularly cleaning your mouse. It's easy. Use rubbing alcohol or window cleaner.

1. Unplug your mouse from your PC.

2. Use an old cotton rag or a tissue (not the kind with lotion). Apply the cleaner of your choice to the cloth or tissue.

3. Wipe the under side of the mouse that slides over the pad, picking up debris. If it has a roller ball underneath, pay special attention to that.

Takeaway Truth

Routine maintenance saves aggravation and time later.

Access Makes Life Easier

The other day I reviewed Jeffery Deaver's new book on my other blog, and, in doing so, I mentioned another of his books The Blue Nowhere which also is about computers and their implications for the way we live. The main character in that book says: "Access is everything." How very true. When it comes to diagnosing problems as quickly as possible with computers, Remote Access is everything.

At Stake

Companies that do business on the internet have a lot at stake. For that matter, anyone who maintains a website for business or promotion purposes (like writers and other artists) needs computers to be operating at peak performance. When computer systems develop problems, they need to be fixed immediately - if not sooner, as the old joke goes. How can that be achieved and how can it be done with security? Proxy Pro 7 from ProxyNetworks.com is the answer.

Not Your Usual Solution

Proxy Pro 7 is software that allows one computer to access (there's that word again) another computer, using the internet to achieve control of the other computer. When control or access is achieved, the technical expert can troubleshoot your problems. Files and data can be accessed, and you can use this for group projects and team collaboration as well.

What About RDP & VNC

Remote Desktop Protocol by Microsoft® and Virtual Network Computing by AT& T® are rather passe in today's solution-oriented marketplace. After all, VNC is actually open source now. Sure, these are still good for an occasional support call, but isn't it wiser to switch to a software designed to be instantly ready and also effective in increasing your productivity?

The Answer Is

Proxy Pro 7® has the security features you want since it has 256-bit encryption, the highest in its class. Dependability is paired with the professional features you want when it comes to Connection, Authentication, Authorization, Encryption, and Auditing. That's probably why thousands of professionals make the change to Proxy Pro 7. Plus, it doesn't matter whether you're running Windows, Mac, or Linux, this software will work on all.

Takeaway Truth

Make your life easier by maintaining the business solution that keeps your computer secure and solves problems quickly when they occur so there's no loss of functionality and security.

Self Publishing Primer

Someone emailed me and asked me to go over again how I went about publishing my mom's memoirs. These were her essays she'd written which I'd published on my website years ago. I was always glad I'd helped her with that book by writing part of it, editing, and then publishing it, but I'm especially glad now that she has passed.

Preparing The Manuscript

In my freelance business, I work with Adobe InDesign. After I'd edited and proofed the manuscripts, I did the format and layout using InDesign. However, there are a lot of programs now that will save a file as PDF including Word Perfect, MS Word, Open Office, and shareware applications.

My daughter who is an artist did the cover art. That meant that all the creative and technical aspects of publishing a book were done by us rather than contracted with another party to do them.

I chose CreateSpace which is owned by Amazon to publish the book because they offered a free ISBN and the best money deal. It didn't cost me a penny to publish this book unless I ordered a copy. There are many online publishing companies from which to choose, but be sure you read their TofS and understand the fee structure.

Using CreateSpace

Their website is intuitive and user friendly. It's simple to create an account. You fill out all the forms including a captivating description of the book and its author. Then upload the content as one file and then the cover as a second file. The book is sold on its own page on CreateSpace which contains the information you filled in and on Amazon since CS is owned by them.

I chose the Professional Plan because of the higher royalty rate and lower production cost of each book. As I said, my cost was zero until I ordered copies. First, I ordered a proof copy. Don't skip this step in the interest of economy. Order a proof copy to make sure your book is mistake free. If it's not, make corrections to the file and upload again. Then order another proof copy.

Mom's book is priced at $14.99, and we've sold about 100 copies. I've done no publicity for the book other than to tell friends and relatives about it. I think the book is well done editorially and in keeping with good production values. It's proved of interest to those who like popular histories and who want to know about life from the Roaring Twenties to World War II from the perspective of a girl growing up in the rural South.

Please take a look at Memory Lane and you can see what kind of information gets entered to create its own webpage on the CreateSpace site. Here's where you can see it Memory Lane on Amazon My next step is to publish a Kindle edition of the book.

Remember

The important thing to remember is that if you know how to do everything from editing to layout to cover art, or you know someone who does, then the cost is zero. If you don't know how to do those things, then you need to pay someone to do them for you. CreateSpace offers those services, or you can get a freelancer to do them for you.

If you have any other questions, feel free to email me. Joan at JoanReeves dot com.

Takeaway Truth

Some projects are imminently suitable for self-publishing, but make sure you produce a book that is as professionally done as one published by a "real" publishing company.

Small Town Idiosyncrasies

Our little piece of heaven in the Texas Hill Country is a delight. Even the small town idiosyncrasies that occasionally stop us in our tracks have proved charming. Life in rural and small town America has more differences than mere population numbers.

What's Different

In the small community where our vacation home is situated and in the nearby small towns, business is conducted Monday through Friday from 9 to 5. Not on a Saturday, and absolutely not on a Sunday.

Every person in an office or a retail business smiles at you and seems pleased to assist you. When you make a purchase, the employee smiles and says: "I hope you have a wonderful day." The smile actually seems sincere and what they say sounds genuine.

Church is the big attraction on Sunday. Every church has a full parking lot, and nearby streets are lined with cars and pickups too.

Water towers are sometimes picturesque with written sentiments regarding high school loyalties.

Towns are proud of their local high school athletic teams. If a regional or state championship was won, a sign attesting to that fact will be found somewhere in the town regardless of how many years have passed since the victory.

I've always loved small towns because I grew up in one.

Takeaway Truth

A slower pace is enormously appealing when you've lived most of your adult life at warp speed.

Moving? Get Help!

We just finished moving the contents of two storage units into the home we bought in Texas Hill Country. We did it ourselves, but not by choice. Let me explain. This was a short move, and we had the use of a big truck. All we needed were movers who would just load the truck. We just needed some help, but I couldn't find any. If only I'd known then about HireAHelper.com.

Lending A Helping Hand

This Internet-based moving provider is at the top of the list in this country when it comes to providing movers for local or long distance moving. If we'd known about them, we could have saved a lot of muscle aches and pains, not to mention commandeering relatives to assist. I'd gladly have paid a company to provide a team to load the truck.

Let me tell you how they work. For instance, if you need Los Angeles movers, just go to their website and do a search for local movers in your area by entering your zip code. Next, read the posted reviews and make a list of movers with whom you'd like to work. You can compare prices to make sure the mover you select fits your budget. Then reserve it online, and the helper contacts you. It's that simple.

Details On Website

Visit the website to get all the details. You can also take advantage of the tools offered to make your move as easy and successful as possible. Their Learning Center is a must stop on their website.

They have helpers in most of the major metropolitan areas so whether you plan to move from east coast to west coast, or you just need local movers to help you move two blocks over, HireAHelper stands ready to provide you with the help you need.

Takeaway Truth

Moving is a chore, but it's a chore made easier with the right kind of help.

On The Move

I figured the way to alert all my readers, of both blogs, of why I've been absent this last week was to post this quick note on both blogs. Just in case you have been wondering where I am and what I've been doing.

We've been moving into the vacation home we bought at the golf resort on the edge of the hill country. I'd written about the process of shopping for this house. Well, we bought it and closed on it last week.

Here's a picture of some of the wildflower fields we drive past on the way to where we'll be hanging out hats every chance we get. In August, I plan to sow the fields around our house with wildflower seeds. Next spring, I want a view from the windows of a field of Indian paintbrush, bluebonnets, primroses, and black-eyed Susans.

Of course, moving our "stuff" into that house meant emptying the storage units where our excess "stuff" was hidden away. Sadly, we had enough accumulated furniture and household goods to completely furnish the house. I decided we should change our name to Pack Rat.

Last week was sorting and emptying the big storage unit. The weekend was moving furnishings and boxes, boxes, boxes to the house. Unfortunately, I seem to be left with about 20 boxes of books and papers stacked in my garage at this house.

This week is emptying the smaller unit and sorting, sorting, sorting. Some will go to the other house. Some will be blended into this house, and some will go to donations at my local youth charity thrift store.

All I can say after all this is: never again! I hereby swear not to buy anything new unless something old wears out or is given away.

Takeaway Truth

In the beginning we accumulate belongings and thrill at owning all those material goods. In the end, the material goods take over our lives and own us.