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The Secret On How To Reach Your Freelance Long Term Financial Goals

Hi gang! To get you pumped-up to start 2013 in the right way, please watch this short video (6 minutes) and begin thinking about where you see yourself in 12 months as far as freelance design income is concerned.

Before we go farther in our journey to monetize your freelance design skills, we need to start from this destination, and then work our way back to today. This will provide us with both a roadmap as well as the focal points we need to ensure your long term financial success along the way.

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Three Most Important Takeaways To Reach Your Long Term Financial Goals 

  1. Set your net financial goal for the year.
    Your net financial goal includes all the things that you know you need or want to purchase, including technology costs, housing, food, entertainment, medical, insurance, family or relationship expenses, etc.
  2. Divide this net goal by 12 in order to clarify your monthly goal.
  3. Filter this monthly goal by 3 factors:
    1. The type of client,
    2. The geography of your client,
    3. Services vs. Products.

Be careful what you wish for.

By starting with a visualization of your destination, you can more easily align your financial goals with your personality and desired lifestyle.

Remember, there is no “right” way to create a freelance design business that generates your livelihood – reaching your long term financial goals…only “your” way.

There is nothing worse than working to get to a destination only to realize that you didn’t really know why you wanted to be there in the first place! 😉

I have truly enjoyed all the positive feedback and comments from the first video in this series, as well as your personal stories.

Please continue to share your thoughts and personal stories in the comments below, as well as inviting any interested friends or colleagues to join our community.

To your success in 2013 and beyond!

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Get Email Subscribers From Google Search Results

Email marketers might be very happy to know that Google is testing an AdWords format that will allow Google searchers to subscribe to their emails directly from search results pages. Would you take advantage of this ad style from Google? Let us know in the comments. It’s not set in stone yet. This may or may not become widely available to all advertisers, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t open up to a wider set. Here’s what the ads look like:

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Hardware Upgrade: How To Install New RAM

RAM is one of those upgrades everyone seems to skimp on when buying a PC, only to later wish for more. Regretting your underpowered memory purchase? Here’s how to speed up your machine by installing some additional memory.
Memory is often one the critical bottlenecks on a PC, so faster, larger stores of RAM can go a long way to making your PC perform better and with more stability. It’s not hard, even for beginner geeks. Crack open that PC in today’s hardware upgrade!

Identifying and Buying Your New RAM (The Hard Part)

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What’s Firefox worth to Google? Nearly $1 billion

Chrome is within striking distance of Firefox for second place in worldwide browser usage, but that hasn’t stopped Google from throwing its financial weight behind the non-profit browser.

(Credit: Net Applications)

Don’t let the StatCounters and the NetApplications of the world fool you: despite stagnant and even slightly negative market share growth,Firefox and its default search box is still extremely valuable to Google.

How valuable? The three-year default search deal that Firefox’s nonprofit parent company, Mozilla, just inked with Google is worth nearly $300 million per year, according to unnamed sources who spoke to AllThingsD.

In a statement to AllThingsD, Google’s senior vice president of search, Alan Eustace, said: “Mozilla has been a valuable partner to Google over the years and we look forward to continuing this great partnership in the years to come.” To those who spend a lot of time observing Mozilla, the deal is no surprise.

Mozilla revealed in October that Google contributed the vast majority of its revenue for fiscal year 2010, around 84 percent. That figure came in at $123 million, an 18 percent jump over 2009. The new deal, at nearly $300 million per year, would represent around a 40 percent jump for Mozilla, which has aligned itself with defending openness on the Web.

Openness doesn’t mean a lack of business acumen, apparently. According to the report, Mozilla was entertaining offers from both Microsoft’s Bing search engine and Yahoo. Even though Yahoo search is powered by Microsoft, landing the Firefox default search slot would’ve been seen as a way to staunch Yahoo’s declining market share. Yahoo determined the deal to be “too costly,” but Mozilla still has partner deals with other search providers such as Amazon, eBay, Yandex, as well as Bing and Yahoo.

Double the money may make things easier for Mozilla, but the company still has a challenging road to tread. Chrome is the still-rising star of the browser world, Internet Explorer 9 and the nascent version 10 continue to grow beyond techie punchline status, and the even with this week’s release of Firefox 9 for PCs and Android, Mozilla struggles to redefine its mission against the backdrop of a rapidly changing Web.

Source: cnet

The 10 biggest perks of working in IT

By Brien Posey

IT jobs usually entail a lot of stress and frustration. But if you’re lucky, they can also provide enough enjoyment to make it all worthwhile.

Regardless of what you do for a living, it’s easy to focus on the negatives of the job and let those things bring you down. However, most jobs have certain perks, and IT is no exception. This article discusses some of the benefits I’ve experienced over the years as a result of working in IT.

1: You get to meet lots of people

One of my absolute favorite things about working in IT is that you get to meet so many interesting people. Back in the mid-90s, for example, I worked for a large insurance company with about 1,000 users. I can honestly say that I knew most of those users on a first-name basis. Better still, even though I left the company about 15 years ago, some of the people I met there are still my best friends to this day.

Without a doubt, the greatest benefit that came from getting to know so many people was that I met my wife of 17 years as a direct result of working in IT. She was working in the marketing department at the time, and I met her because she called me to fix her printer.

2: The money can be good

Even though IT will probably never be the way that it was during the dot-com boom, IT does tend to pay better-than-average salaries. Of course, the pay level varies considerably from one company to the next and from one position to the next.

3: It’s easy to move around

One thing I have always noticed about IT is that it is relatively easy to move around. I have known plenty of IT pros who got bored with their position and switched to a different IT specialty with minimal effort. For instance, I have known network administrators who became database administrators and software developers who became network administrators.

4: You have personal freedom

IT pros tend to have a lot of personal freedom. I will be the first to admit that corporate culture can vary considerably from one organization to the next and that some organizations are more permissive than others. Even so, I can’t remember anyone ever making me punch a time clock or stick to a rigid break schedule. Most of the IT jobs I have had have allowed me to set my own hours and even work from home when I wanted to (within reason). Likewise, I have always had total freedom to decorate my office anyway I wanted.

5: You get to help people

Another great thing about working in IT is that you get to help a lot of people. Some people hate IT because they’re usually calling with a problem they want you to solve. Even so, I have always found it gratifying to be able to end the day knowing that I was able to spend it helping people.

6: You get paid to spend time away from the office

This may not apply to everybody, but one thing I have always enjoyed immensely about IT is the travel. The very nature of the job means that you constantly have to learn new things and oftentimes, this means traveling to training classes and technical conferences.

Although I do confess to being a travel junkie, there is also something very cool about being away from the office for a few days without having to burn up any of your vacation time. What’s even better is that technology conferences tend to be held in places where there are plenty of things to see and do after hours.

7: You sometimes face unusual challenges

Few things in life bring me down faster than monotony. While every job has some amount of repetition, IT has the unique advantage of requiring creative solutions to unusual problems. There is definitely something to be said for being challenged once in a while.

8: You have access to cool toys

A definite perk of working in IT is having access to cool toys. Just yesterday, for example, I had to spend several hours in a hospital waiting room, so I got some work done using my Windows 8 tablet. While doing so, several people stopped to ask me where I got the tablet, since Windows 8 won’t be out until sometime next year.

The same basic concept has always held true regardless of the hot technology of the moment. Back in the 90s, I remember using a flatbed scanner to copy pictures for my friends at a time when none of them had ever even heard of a scanner.

9: IT knowledge can be helpful in everyday life

Although perhaps not a job perk, IT knowledge can definitely be helpful in everyday life. For example, there was a time long, long ago when the network cabling standard of choice was coaxial Ethernet. I spent one entire summer pulling coaxial cable and attaching cable ends. At the time, I hated the job. But even though nobody uses coaxial Ethernet anymore, the knowledge I gained installing all that cable came in handy just last week.

My next-door neighbors had some carpet installed. The installer accidentally cut their satellite cable. The cable used by satellite dishes is similar to what was used for Ethernet so long ago. Since I still have my tools, I was able to repair the cable for them, so they didn’t have to wait a week and pay for a service call from the satellite company.

10: The job sometimes comes with special rewards

Earlier, I mentioned that one of the great things about working in IT is that you get to help people. Sometimes, people who you help are so grateful that they provide a special reward. Over the years, I have had clients send me various gifts as a way of saying thank-you for helping them out in a pinch. When I worked for the military, some of the people I helped even thanked me by taking me for joy rides in tanks and helicopters.

Don’t get me wrong — I don’t help people because I expect to get something in return. However, it is always a nice feeling when someone surprises you with a thank-you gift.

Other perks?

What other aspects of your IT job make you happy? Do the good things outweigh the bad?

 

10 hot areas of expertise for IT specialists

By Debra Littlejohn Shinder

Success in the IT field is increasingly tied to specialization — but what particular tech niches are most in demand? Deb Shinder runs through the IT specialties that top the list.

My recent article 10 Ways to become an IT superstar generated a lot of feedback. Quite a few IT pros out there apparently want to increase their visibility (and paychecks). One thing that drew a lot of attention in the piece was the advice to specialize. Okay, readers replied, but what area should I specialize in? They wanted to know which subsets of skills are the easiest to master and/or which ones will deliver the most bang for the buck. So in this follow-up, I’ll look at some of the IT specialties that are likely to be in demand in the near future.

1: To the cloud

You saw this one coming, didn’t you? All the major technology companies seem to be “all in” with cloud computing — Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Dell, CA Technologies, and more. According to recent surveys, at least 50% of organizations are already using some form of cloud computing, and Gartner says the adoption rate is increasing by about 17% per year. According to Dice.com, the number of ads for cloud computing jobs has grown by 344% over the last two years.

2: Virtually speaking

Virtualization has been hot for a while, as companies jumped in to reap the cost and management benefits of consolidating their servers and delivering virtualized desktops and applications to their users. Virtualization is also the foundation of cloud computing, so those with expertise in deploying virtualized IT environments will be in demand both in the public cloud arena and with those organizations that plan to stick with private clouds for now. Dice.com’s data showed a 78% growth in the number of jobs related to server virtualization.

3: Mobile computing and consumerization integration

Everyone knows mobile computing is hot. Smartphones and tablets, along with laptops and netbooks, are the driving forces behind the increasing consumerization of enterprise IT. There are plenty of advantages for the company: Because employees are willing to buy their own devices, the organization saves money. Because those employees can stay in touch with work, read and respond to email, view attachments, and create documents no matter where they are, they become more productive.

But when employees purchase their own equipment, the downside is that you lose the standardization that comes with company-issued devices. You end up with many types of devices, made by different hardware vendors, running different operating systems and different apps, configured differently. Getting them to seamlessly connect to the company network can be a challenge. Getting them all connected to the company network without putting the network at risk is even more of a challenge. IT pros who have expertise in integrating these new devices into the network and managing them once they’re connected are likely to be in demand by many companies.

Application lifecycle management (ALM) will become increasingly important as the environment becomes more complex with some functions in the cloud and some onsite. Bob Aiello believes configuration management (CM) will evolve into ALM, and the outlook is bright for those with these expanded skills.

4: It’s all about the apps

As Toni Bowers reported in a recent blog post, the hottest job category for 2011 (according to CareerCast.com) is that of software engineer. But it’s a position that’s a bit different from the programmer of yesteryear. On the programming side of the fence, it’s all about apps these days. As smartphones and tablets become ubiquitous, companies will need to develop their own specialized apps for those devices — just as they’ve needed to develop proprietary software for desktop systems.

In addition, cloud-based applications will be big in the coming years, and that means software engineers will need new skills to design, develop, and implement programs that run in the cloud environment. Those who are familiar with Windows Azure, Google App Engine, VMware’s Spring Framework, Force.com, and other cloud development platforms will be a step ahead of the game.

5: Security and compliance

With cybercrime on the rise and increasing concern over the possibility of cyber terrorism and/or cyber warfare, security specialists are likely to continue to be in demand for the foreseeable future. There is a saying in the law enforcement community regarding job security: Thanks to human nature, there will always be criminals — and thus, there will always be a need for the police. That same dark side of human nature ensures that there will always be those who misuse computer technology to attack, intrude, and otherwise attempt to do harm to computer systems. That means there will always be a need for computer and network security specialists.

In addition, more and more government regulation of the Internet and networks, as well as regulatory provisions concerning data privacy, mean security is no longer optional for most organizations. Those who specialize in regulatory compliance are likely to see their job prospects increase as more industries come under the regulatory umbrella.

6: Four to six

When the IPv4 address pool was created in the 1980s, it was thought that the more than 4.2 billion unique addresses possible under the system would be enough. However, the creators didn’t foresee the Internet boom or the possibility that one day, we would be connecting not just multiple computers per person, but printers, phones, and even household appliances to the Internet. This month (February 2011), IANA announced that it has allocated the last batch of remaining IPv4 addresses.

The solution to the problem has been around for a while: IPv6. The new version of the Internet Protocol supports a whopping 340 undecillion (2 to the 128th power) addresses. But IPv6 deployment is not an easy task; working with it requires learning a whole new IP language. IPv6 addresses don’t even look like their IPv4 counterparts; they’re notated in hexadecimal instead of dotted quad. IPv6 is also much more sophisticated than IPv4, with many new features (including built-in security mechanisms). Most important, IPv6 does not interoperate with IPv4, so transition technologies are required to get IPv4 networks to communicate with IPv6 networks.

Obviously, now that we’ve reached the end of the available IPv4 addresses, more and more organizations will be forced to migrate to IPv6. Because of the complexity, there is a shortage of IT personnel who have mastered and really understand IPv6. If you’re one of the few, the proud, who specializes in this area, you’re likely to have plenty of business in the upcoming years.

7: Business intelligence

Business intelligence (BI) refers to technologies that are used for reporting and analyzing data, including recognizing trends and patterns, to make better strategic business decisions. BI uses techniques such as data mining to extract and identify patterns and correlations in large amounts of data.

According to a recent study of midsize organizations that was done by IBM, BI/analytics is the second most popular IT investment (after infrastructure) that companies have planned for 2011. This indicates that specializing in the BI field can be a lucrative strategy and a good investment in your future.

8: The social network

Social networking started as a consumer-driven technology, but the use of social media is now being embraced in a big way by businesses. It can be used to connect with customers, colleagues, and partners to build solid business relationships. That doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be a hot property on the job market just because you tweet and update your Facebook page regularly. But it does mean organizations are looking for people who know how to integrate social media into the business environment in a way that furthers the goals of the organization.

Many companies are looking to develop their own social sites that give them more control and let them target their audiences more precisely. Specialists in social media are sure to find many opportunities as more and more companies stop seeing social sites as just time-wasters that should be blocked and start to recognize the potential for business use. This article offers more information about exactly what a social media specialist does.

9: Public sector computing

On the one hand, many state and local governments are cutting back on their budgets and laying off personnel. On the other hand, governmental agencies are depending more and more on technology to perform their functions more efficiently with fewer personnel. That means specialists in public sector computing can likely find a home in one of the many thousands of town, city, county, state, or federal government agencies that exist in the United States alone.

Although salaries for government jobs are often smaller than those in the private sector, they sometimes offer better benefits, more time off, and a less pressured work environment. There are a number of IT subspecialties in the public sector, as well. These include computer forensics investigators, criminalistics analysts, and personnel who specialize in secure mobile communications technologies for public service agencies.

10: To your health

The healthcare industry is in a state of flux in the United States. Government mandates are predicted to result in cost reduction measures that may result in personnel cuts and/or discourage young people from entering medicine. At the same time, the baby boomer generation is aging and requiring health care. Technology may be one way to fill the gap.

An IDC report published late last year showed that the U.S. healthcare market for IT was valued at $34 billion and was predicted to increase by 24% over the next three years. That translates into a demand for software developers and IT professionals who understand the healthcare industry and its special needs and who know how to integrate technology into the caregiver’s world without dumping a steep learning curve onto people already working in an understaffed and overworked environment.

source: techrepublic

10 ways to become an IT superstar

By Debra Littlejohn Shinder

Becoming a sought-after industry expert requires dedication, planning, and hard work. Here are some things you can do to make it happen.

You have long years of experience in the IT field and you really know your stuff. But when you go to conferences or offer to speak to local user groups, nobody knows your name and you can’t command the high consulting rates the IT superstars are bringing in. How do you establish yourself as an expert in this industry and build a reputation outside your own organization? It requires a lot more than just being good at your job. Here are 10 things you can do to get yourself recognized as one of the IT elite.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: Gain experience

Even though IT experience isn’t enough to get you recognized as an expert in an industry that’s filled with experienced IT pros, it is the first prerequisite. No matter how brilliant you are, regardless of the fact that you were building your own circuit boards as a kid and made straight A’s in comp sci, real-world experience still counts. You probably won’t begin to be taken seriously until you’ve been working in the real world in some capacity for at least five years (10 is better).

The good news is that the form your experience takes can be flexible. It can be gained through working in the corporate environment, doing IT work in the military or for a governmental entity, running your own IT-related business, consulting, etc.

If you’re a midlife career changer (as both my husband and I were), you can even leverage your experience in a different field to help build your reputation in IT. As a former law enforcement officer, I had “instant credibility” in the areas of security and cybercrime. Tom, an M.D., was able to speak more authoritatively on IT subjects related to medicine and health care, such as HIPAA compliance, than someone without that background. And that brings us to the next tip.

2: Concentrate on a specialty

The IT field has grown to the point where, as with the medical field, it’s impossible for one person to master all of it. If you try to be a jack of all trades, you’ll probably never become enough of an expert in anything to stand out from the crowd. Sure, it’s possible to be an IT generalist, but the quickest route to “fame” (and some measure of fortune) is to find yourself a niche.

When Tom and I started to build our reputations in IT, we began by specializing in Microsoft’s ISA Server, later branching out to firewall technology in general and then to the broader field of computer and network security.

You can focus on a particular product as we did, on a brand (such as becoming an expert in Microsoft technologies or Cisco technologies), on a branch of IT, such as security or network interoperability or mobile computing, or on a subfield, such as cryptography or computer forensics or scripting. The key is to pick something that really interests you, something you can get enthusiastic about — because enthusiasm about your area of expertise is what others pick up on and it’s what sets the top “experts” apart from others who know just as much (or sometimes more) but to whom it’s all “just a job.” The second important factor in choosing a specialty is to pick one where there is currently no one established expert. That leads into our next tip.

3: Take ownership

Once you’ve decided on an area of expertise, your goal should be to take ownership of that particular product or topic area. You want to become the person whom everyone thinks of when they think about that topic. You want your name to be inextricably associated with SSL VPNs or VoIP security or whatever you’ve chosen as your specialty area.

If you don’t like being locked into such a narrow area, don’t worry. Remember that this is advice for becoming recognized in the field. After you’ve accomplished that, you can branch out to other technologies. For years, Tom was known as “Mr. ISA Server.” Then ISA became a part of Microsoft’s Forefront family and he became known for his knowledge of Unified Access Gateway (UAG), as well as ISA’s successor, the Threat Management Gateway (TMG). That led to expertise in DirectAccess, which is part of UAG but also part of Windows Server 2008 R2, and so forth.

4: Start small

No matter how ambitious your ultimate goal is, you’re more likely to attain it if you’re willing to start small and get there in increments. Begin by becoming well known and respected in one particular venue — such as on a particular Web forum or within a local IT user group. Hone your leadership skills and become a big fish in these small ponds, and that will lead to opportunities to swim in much bigger waters.

When Tom and I started our IT consulting business back in the 90s, we began building relationships with local businesses. But at the same time, we became extremely active on a few of the biggest IT newsgroups and mailing lists. We posted frequently to those groups and attempted to answer as many of the other group members’ questions as we could. Sometimes that meant extensive research, but it quickly got us both recognized as “helpers” — people who had some knowledge about IT and were willing to share it to help others.

What we didn’t know at the time was that publishers of IT books lurked on those mailing lists, looking for potential authors. Because we demonstrated knowledge of IT in our posts and because we were articulate in expressing ourselves, Tom was soon contacted by Syngress Publishing and I was contacted by Cisco Press with offers of contracts to write books. And writing a book on a subject is one of the very best ways to become recognized as an expert.

5: Take on writing assignments

Not everyone has the time, interest, and stamina to write a book. It’s a lot of hard work. Sometimes it pays off handsomely but other times the earnings, given the hours you put in, don’t even add up to minimum wage. An easier way to make money writing about IT is to produce 500- to 2,500-word articles for IT webzines. Leverage the reputation you’ve built on forums and the relationships you’ve formed there to catch the attention of editors. Pitch a query, and when you get your first assignment, put your all into the article. In the beginning, don’t worry too much about the compensation — even consider doing a freebie or two to prove yourself and show the editor that you reliably produce accurate, well-written, on-time contributions.(Don’t continue to write for free, though, if you really want to be considered an expert. People intuitively know you usually get what you pay for, and those who are good at what they do rarely give it away without some special reason.)

6: Put your name on the Web

Even if you haven’t yet reached the point where people are willing to pay you to write about IT, you can get your name out there: Put it on the Web. Create an IT-oriented Web site with your name prominently featured. It can be a help forum, where you answer questions and solve IT problems. It can be a gathering place for other IT pros to post on a Web board and do much of the problem solving. It can be just an ad for your consulting business or a showplace for you to brag about your awards (if you do it in the right way). The important thing is to get your name “up in lights.”

Your own Web site is just a start, though. You want a Web search on your name to return thousands of hits, and you want them to be connected to the “best” IT related Web sites. So get out there and post on other sites, exchange links with other IT folks, grant interviews to IT journalists, and get yourself known.

A blog is a great way to develop a following in the IT world. There, you can post articles about IT topics that are too short or not polished enough to market to the paying IT webzines or that cover things their editors aren’t interested in publishing. You can also get more “folksy” in blog posts and develop a more intimate relationship with readers than you can do on some of the more formal IT sites. And you don’t have to worry about anyone editing out the best part of your piece. Just remember to keep it professional and tech related. Set up a separate blog if you want to also blog about your personal life and non-tech-related interests.

7: Get social

Don’t get so busy building your business that you forget the importance of socializing. That includes both real-world and online social networking. Join LinkedIn and Facebook and set up a Twitter account, and use them to further your career ambitions. Seek out other IT pros as friends and followers and post with your business reputation in mind. Post tidbits of IT news, links to helpful IT articles, and of course, links to any of your articles, blog posts, etc. As with blogging, if you want to use social networking sites for more personal purposes, set up two separate accounts — one for business friends and one for personal friends.

IT conferences present another good opportunity to socialize and make contacts in the field and to meet and greet other members of the IT community.

8: Get out and about

The beautiful thing about the Internet is that “nobody knows you’re a dog.” Looks, race, gender, disabilities, etc., don’t matter. It is entirely possible to build a strong reputation and make a good living doing everything online. For several years, Tom and I made good incomes writing books, articles, and whitepapers without ever meeting, in person, any of the people we were working for. Some of them we never even talked to on the phone.

However, if you want to take your career to the next level, it pays to get to know your colleagues and “bosses” in person. There’s a good chance that after you’ve been working with them for a while, they’ll initiate the in-person meeting themselves (and pay for it). But if not, you can forge a stronger bond that may result in more favorable contract negotiations, better assignments, and so on, by taking a little trip to their locations and dropping by while you’re there. Or attend tech conferences you know they’ll be attending and get together there. Sure, it might cost you a little money (although you should recoup some of it from the tax write-off), but it’s likely to more than pay for itself in future work.

9: Seek out other superstars

When you’re socializing, whether online or at real-world events, hang out with the other superstars if you can. I don’t mean you should push your way into the inner circle, but you shouldn’t be shy about approaching the IT gurus you admire and letting them know how they’ve inspired you. Especially as you begin to be known for your own expertise, most of them will be happy to be contacted by you. Email is nonintrusive and a good way to introduce yourself. Look for commonalities: Did you both grow up in the same state or go to the same college? Do you have the same breed of dog? Are you both musicians? Support the same political candidates? Common ground makes a good basis for conversation. Who knows? Maybe you’ll become good friends with someone you once considered way above you. One day he/she might even be writing to you, asking for your help in getting work. That’s happened to me more than once.

While you’re making a place for yourself among the superstars, though, don’t ignore the “little people.” Remember that it’s your readers and “fans” who make you a star, not the other stars. When you attend a conference, go out of your way to spend time with those who have questions for you. If someone asks you to autograph a copy of your book, you should feel just as honored as you did the first time it happened. Even if you’ve “arrived,” stay humble. Your career path went up, but it can also go down. And others’ balloons may rise in the meantime. Be nice to everybody. You never know when today’s “nobody” might be in the position to hire you in the future.

10: Talk the talk

Writing will get you name recognition, but to get face recognition, you need to do more. Real-life meetings and conferences will do that, to a degree. But it you really want to be a superstar, you shouldn’t be just attending those conferences; you should be presenting at them. They say public speaking is the number one fear, even above death — but it’s a fear that anyone can get over with a lot of practice. When I was in high school, I was super shy and literally trembled and got sick to my stomach at the idea of standing up and talking in front of an audience. A wise counselor forced me into the speech and debate class, and what started as agony ended up being a huge source of self-confidence and something that shaped my life. After that, I went on to become a police officer, police academy instructor, college criminal justice instructor, and later an IT trainer and speaker at various events.

You can start by speaking at local user group meetings or volunteering to teach a class in computer usage for your library, city community center, or community college. With speaking experience under your belt, start submitting presentation proposals for larger events, such as TechEd, BlackHat, or the whatever regional, national, or international conferences focus on your area of expertise. If you’ve published articles or books on the topic, that gives you more credibility as a speaker.

When you’re standing up in front of a room full of IT pros at one of the well-known industry events, you’ll know that your plan to become an IT superstar is working.

Source: techrepublic

Is Social Media Ruining Our Minds?

Are the effects of multitasking, as well as constant distractions via whatever device of your choosing, causing your brain to rewire, and potentially impacting the length of our attention spa… Oh, look! A Facebook update! I think you get the idea. How hard is it to avoid distraction in this day and age of always-connected devices and the social media platforms that offer a constant stream of content that can even be described as valuable on an occasion? Does this type of “multi-tasking” interfere with your ability to concentrate on an individual subject for extended periods of time? With that in mind, what were we talking about again? Let us know in the comments. While the concept could focus on the general concept of multitasking, the infographic being referenced in this article focuses directly on social media, asking is it ruining our minds. Sponsored by the AssistedLivingToday collective, the graphic offers an extensive breakdown of how these constant distractions are effecting the very way our brains are wi… Wait, what? Did what’shisname really update his Twitter feed!?!? Squeee!!!! As I was saying before being distracted by various Twitter feeds, the infographic, aside from focusing on the distractions offered by social media, offer this compelling concept: The average attention span, at present, is only five seconds long. 10 years ago, it was 12 minutes. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to “like” my buddy’s Facebook update after watching the new Batman trailer for the tenth time this morning. The impact of these shorter attention spans — SQUIRREL!!!! — is that 25 percent of us forget names and details of friends and relatives. I tried to explain this to that one guy, but I’m not sure he heard me, or was even paying attention. He was on Facebook, I think. Other factoids of note, right after I check my email again: Social Media Infographic

– The average worker checks his/her email about 30-40 times an hour – Um, what were we talking about, again? With that in mind, whatever it is we we’re talking about will have to wait until the distraction of the infographic is consumed. Be advised, it’s over 5000 pixels tall, although, I forgot what it is I’m supposed to be explaining:

Oh, right, social media distraction. While the graphic implicates the social media industry, there is scant information within the graphic about the very industry in question. Some simple, throwaway facts are present, like so: 500,000 people join Twitter everyday, 12 million Twitter users follow 64 or more accounts, with 1.5 following over 500. The graphic further indicates people spend over 700 billion minutes on Facebook each month, and Facebook users install 20 million mobile device apps everyday. While there’s no direct correlation between these bullet points and the distraction issue, the relationship is clearly inferred. With all these additional outlets for information/distraction, it easy to see how people are so easily distracted. Furthermore, the data about the attention span should be troubling, but then again, I’ve already forgotten what it is I’m writing about.

The Missing Guide: 301 Redirects

The modern web is fluid, with new pages being built and old ones being deleted on a constant basis. If you are planning to delete pages or reroute visitors from an old page or domain to a new one, this is the guide for you.

Why do I need a 301 Redirect?

301 redirects perform two major tasks: most importantly, they inform search engines that your page or site location has moved, and transfers the page rank and “link juice” from the old to the new. It’s a relatively simple solution to preserve a page or site’s hard-earned search rankings after it has moved. The second benefit is that every outstanding link or bookmark will still send visitors to the new site, so you don’t have to worry about broken links.

Note

This is strictly a guide for an .htaccess 301 Redirect, which is the most common server-side method. It is a requirement that your website be on an Apache server with Mod Rewrite turned on; most hosting companies use this, but if you aren’t sure, check with your host.

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First, you need to force your computer to recognize the .htaccess file, the file we will be editing in later steps. By default, any files beginning with a “.” are hidden on most computers because they are usually sensitive operating-system files that would cause damage to the system if accidentally edited or deleted. However, we need to be able to see and edit a “.” file for our website, so here’s what you need to do:

Mac Users

1. Go to Applications>Utilities and open Terminal. With the window selected, paste the following and hit Enter.

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

2. Force Finder to relaunch by pasting the following code and hitting Enter again.

killall Finder

3. When you are finished and want to hide system files again (which is generally a good idea), repeat the same steps, but replacing TRUE with FALSE.

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE

Then force Finder to relaunch again:

killall Finder

PC Users (Windows Vista & Windows 7)

1. Launch Windows Explorer.

2. In the Organize drop-down menu, choose Folder and Search Options.

3. Under the View tab, scroll down and check the box next to “Show hidden files and folders.”

4. To hide the files again, simply go back and uncheck the box.

Opening the .htaccess File

Now that you can actually see the file you’ll working on, go to your site’s root directory, or topmost folder. There you should find the .htaccess file. If you don’t have one, I’ll explain how to create one.

If There is No .htaccess File

Never fear, creating one will be a quick and painless:

1. Go to any basic text editor like Notepad or TextEdit, and open a new document.
2. In the first line, write the following:

RewriteEngine ON

3. Go ahead and Save As, and make sure the file name is simply .htaccess, with no .txt or anything after it. If you followed the step above to allow your computer to view hidden files, this should be no problem.

That’s it! You’re set up to begin the next steps.

If There is an .htaccess File

1. Download it and open it in a basic text editor like Notepad or Text Edit.
2. Ensure there is a line that reads:

RewriteEngine ON

If that line isn’t there, type it in on the first line. Make sure any code you add is below this line.

Adding the 301 Redirect

The next step is to add the code that will perform the redirect. While there are many types of redirect, we’re only going to look at redirecting single pages and domains. If you need a different type of redirect, a quick search should yield a snippet that you can paste in place of the below snippets.

Page to Page Redirect

To redirect from an old or deleted page on your domain to a new one, paste the following code into your .htaccess file below the Rewrite Engine on line, replacing the information to reflect your site and page names:

Redirect 301 /oldpage.html http://www.yoursite.com/newpage.html

That’s it! The old or deleted page is the first item, and the full address of the new page follows.

Domain Redirect

If you changed web addresses, you’ll need to direct search engines and traffic to the new one. In this case, you’ll need to start a new blank .htaccess file and paste the following:

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.newwebsite.com/$1 [R=301,L]

This .htaccess file will be placed on your old domain, so this will only be effective as long as the old domain stays live. It’s suggested that you keep your old website live until search engines recognize the 301 and credit the new page with rankings.  For more information on helping Google recognize your new site, I recommend this article on how to properly move domains from an SEO standpoint. In the meantime, it’s important that you contact any site or directory containing backlinks to ensure they have the new URL for your site.

Uploading and Testing

Good news—you’re almost there! Your last step is to upload the new .htaccess file to your website’s  root directory. Once that is done, be sure to test and make sure the old address redirects you to the new page or domain!

What’s New in WordPress 3.3

What’s New in WordPress 3.3

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