Tag Archives: blogger

Review: SHARKK Backlit Ultrathin iPad Keyboard

IMG_20140630_201815_999After three tries I finally found the perfect keyboard for the iPad: the SHARKK Backlit Ultrathin iPad Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard by this progressive company called SHARKK.

I love writing with this new set up. It syncs up to the iPad almost instantly for quick typing and the response is immediate.

The keys just feel good and they are back lit with a range of zazzy colors to choose from. The keyboard clips to the iPad securely and easily with magnets and the sleek aluminum profile looks good, feels good and is professional without being boring. I can’t say enough good things about this keyboard. It’s so fun to work with I bet it even cures writer’s block ;D

Here’s my video review on the subject – thanks to first time camera man xmonkeydoox for helping me create it!

Journal Jabber – Alicia Sparks – Radio Show 6·1·14

jj1After a few glitches and a lot of learning, the new Journal Jabber shows are starting to come out.  Listen in as Alicia Sparks heats things up as we chat about her newest release, “Sin Bin,” hockey and her birthday.

Journal Jabber on YouTube!

Here it is – the first Journal Jabber show in it’s new home, nestled comfortably on the Ember Spark channel.  What a great first show as well – four authors of microfiction pit pen and prose against each other in a battle of words to see which will walk away as the Iron Writer 2014.

Future shows will be posted on the channel and we will start posting the archives as well.  We will have more freedom to do extra shows and be much more creative than our former platform allowed.  Please have a listen, like and share.  Subscribe to catch them all!

Thanks Ember for hosting Journal Jabber on your channel!


WordPress Vs. Blogger

I’m finally all moved over to WordPress and the feathers are starting to unruffle.  The first few days have been a rush to transfer feeds, change links and get used to the new format.

I came over because I wanted to see what all the buzz is about… everything that I read was pointing to WordPress as the best way to go for bloggers, but I couldn’t really find anyone saying why.  I was determined to find out why.

So far I can honestly say I like WordPress better.  When I finally got into the new format and started personalizing it, I was surprised to see how few ‘toys’ there were for me.  Initially I found that disappointing. 

Blogger has menus of widgets and gizmos that you just choose and drag in place.  WordPress gives you the blog equivalent of a blank canvas and a full palette.  To add widgets you have to go find them and download them in.  It’s the same difference between buying a computer off the shelf all preloaded with software you don’t want, and having one custom-made with just what you want.

Using WordPress has an efficient, clean feel.  There’s no squeezing clutter in the sidebars just because they’re there.  I can download what I actually need, and only that.  Another thing I like is that finally my domain name doesn’t vanish to display ‘blogger.com’ in the address field.  The dashboard is easy to use; the whole system is intuitive and dependable.

Moving all my old work from Blogger to here was the easiest part.  I downloaded a widget called Blogger Importer, asked it to import all my old work and it all downloaded directly into the WordPress blog in less than a minute… even the comments imported over.  It was the easiest part of the whole experience.

Now I’m ready to start exploring all the powerful parts of WordPress that lay under the surface and start learning to use my keywords, searches and whatnot.  Ultimately I think the change over will be worth the trouble and $5 a month for hosting.  As I learn how to use this new tool efficiently I’ll be sure to share what I find out with all my blogging buddies… always glad to be your guinea pig :p

Nothing a Walk & Some Chocolate Won’t Fix

The idea was a simple one in the beginning.  Move this blog from Blogger to WordPress.

WordPress is for professional bloggers, I was told.  At the same time I had an opportunity to attend an online course on WordPress blogging, and I was sent the WordPress Power Guide – Using WordPress to Blog Your Way to Success by Lambert Klein.  All the stars seemed to align and point me to towards a move.

The stars may align and point all they want, I found, but that doesn’t mean they promise an easy trip.  In all honesty, the move itself wasn’t the difficulty; the hardest part I had to understand was updating my SQL data and the host site I used, GoDaddy.com, had clear instructions.  The main issuewas that I was on unfamiliar territory, and the internet provider we use decided to give us faulty service at the same time.

That left me trying to figure things out with pages unable to load, so I didn’t know if the site was down, if I somehow couldn’t remember passwords or if the entire system had crashed.  After a few days of this I was in such a whirlwind of frustration, that even simple instructions were causing me tantrums.

And then the sunlight finally broke through the clouds and I could see the light.  I found a glitch, fixed it and then turned it all off and took a walk.  I needed a break, a few minutes of faith that I had indeed found the problem, and that WordPress would reveal itself to me when I turned it all back on.  To make sure I had proper distraction, my walk took me to the shops where I found this giant bar of chocolate waiting for me.  And yes, I shared.

On the way back the combined effects of chocolate and an afternoon stroll worked their magic, and when I turned everything back on, it all worked and I was ready to get back with it.  The entire week long experience taught me a few things about myself.

  1. I do like WordPress.
  2. If my internet drops, so does my intellect.
  3. There are few things a walk and some chocolate can’t fix.

In the next few days there may be a few glitches as the new location kicks in, and I’ll be posting double time to catch up, but hopefully all glitches are in the past and I’m excited to see what the future holds.

The Light at the End…

Finally, after days of struggle and pulling out my hair… WordPress has been conquered.  Turns out WordPress itself is not that hard, and switching the blog over was pretty easy in the end.  The problem was that I was working with something new, and the internet decided to go spazzy at the same time.

But here we are, taking the next big step towards blogger immortality.  I confess to feeling a little fried on the edges after the last few days, but now that it’s over, I am eager to play catch up.  Tomorrow.  After my coffee.

We Will Now Break for Intermission

Last you heard from me I was switching this blog over to the glories of WordPress… and… I’m still switching.  Hopefully I can get it all moved over tomorrow, and we’ll be back up and running smoothly in no time.

There are so many awesome posts stacking up for when things are back to normal – there’s an exciting new artist up in the exhibit hall, I have to tell you about the amazing box of goodies that MyBlogSpark sent, a spotlight on Etsy through the eyes of four talented and successful crafters, a new installment of the Machinimist Marketer…

All I have to do is get moved…

In the Process of Moving to WordPress… Eeeeeep!

I said I was going to move the blog to WordPress, and I am in the process right now.  I’m in step #4, and already utterly confused, so hopefully Fluff won’t blow up or delete itself or anything.  Wish me luck, and hopefully we’ll see each other on the other side… Eeeeeeeep!

To Press, Or Not to Press… That Is My Question

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about WordPress, and how it’s the only way to make money with your blog, and all serious bloggers use it.  This raises a few questions to me, the first being, do I want to make money on my blog? 
I know that may seem like a crazy question, but many activities are fine and noble until money gets involved.  Marrying a man because he can amply provide for a woman and her children is considered smart and being a capable mom, but if he’s rich, she’s a gold digger.  Sex with someone you just met is considered risque to some, slutty to others, but get paid for it and both partys are likely to condemn you as a prostitute.
I started my blog for a few reasons, primarily because I am a career writer that has been away from it for a few years, and I’ve gotten rusty and pathetic.  The discipline of regular blog writing has really gotten me back into the spirit.  Another reason I started this blog was so that I could show potential employers examples of my work, as well as parade it around on the web for someone to ‘discover’, like the literary equivalent of a beauty pageant.
But then two people whispered in my ear, promising that I could actually become rich as a professional blogger… my first reaction was to blush and hush them.  I replied that I blog as a gift for those I love (which, incidentally, are mostly people who read my blog) and that I didn’t want to cheapen it with money.  My second reaction was to ask if there were such a thing as a professional blogger, and I was assured there is, and given actual numbers and names of different individuals as proof.
The idea set itself in my mind like a stubborn splinter.  I’ll be completely honest, I think the idea of supporting myself on blog alone is very similar to planning a lottery win in my financial  future… not very likely.  Normally I would discount the entire idea and keep to my ‘blog as gift’ shtick, but I find myself in a position that makes the idea worth trying.  Namely, I can’t legally work in Australia until my visa is approved. 
I’ve been sitting here since August of 2010 with the possibility that I might be waiting another 8 months.  I don’t watch much television and my attention span, due to internet over usage, has gotten too lazy to read for entertainment purposes.  I’m still working hard at Second Life clothes design, but I can only stare at Photoshop for so long before I start going cross eyed.  Farmville threatens to atrophy any of my remaining intellect if I don’t find something else to occupy me.  So, after much deliberation and few choices, I decided …why not?
I signed up for Sandi Krakowski’s 30 day blog training course, and started reading WordPress Power Guide by Lambert Klein, and they both tell me the first step is to move my blog to WordPress.  I don’t know why that is such a big deal, or what WordPress has to offer that Blogger doesn’t, but I will keep an open mind and try it out.  After all, that’s what separates the pros from the rest of us, I’m told.  Besides, what have I got to lose?  I blog because I love writing, but I think I’d love being rich too.

When Blogging Gets Dangerous

As an American citizen I enjoy freedom of speech, meaning I can say whatever I want and all the repercussion I have to worry about are angry comments and hate email.  That’s not the case for everyone in the world tho.

I was just reading about how blogger Maikel Nabil has been sentenced to three years in prison for voicing his opinions on the Egyptian army.  He was charged with “defaming the army and spreading false information”. 

If bloggers worldwide could be charged and imprisoned for that I imagine the internet would be a lot quieter place to surf.  Saving money and complaining about your government seem to be topics of choice in the bloggosphere.

Unfortunately, Maikel doesn’t have the luxury of anonymously blowing off steam.  On March 28th he was arrested and imprisoned.  Neither he, nor his lawyers were present at his actual sentencing.  According to Human Rights Watch, the general in charge of the “Morale Affairs Directorate” accused Maikel of “inappropriate language” and said he “defamed the military, and that his calls for an end to military conscription would have a negative effect on the youth”

For that he gets three years in Egyptian prison, which Amnesty International describes as having “extremely poor conditions“.  There he will likely be tortured, and few will dare talk about it or risk being tortured themselves.  “Two news conferences by human rights lawyers in which torture victims testified — a subject that independent newspapers and satellite TV stations usually cover — received almost no coverage. Only a limited number of opinion writers in some newspapers and certain TV hosts have been willing to raise the issue of torture by the military,” Human Rights Watch said.

Mikail Nabil is paying dearly for voicing an opinion.  It makes me nauseous to think of what he may be enduring as I type this.  Selfishly, I can say I am grateful that when I express my opinion the worst fear I have is losing Facebook friends.  My world is centered around such trivia, I worry about getting a head while bloggers like Mikail worry about keeping theirs. 

I am a priveleged child of the western world, full of rights and expectations, but the boundaries of tyranny are being toppled by technology.  The internet draws us ever closer, giving people like Mikail a voice we can all hear and respond to. 

The pen truly is mightier then the sword, as evidenced by history, and with the pen now able to write truth globally, I hope that soon one day people of all nations can say that they are privileged children that live without fear.