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April 2023

Regina's Personal Blog

Monday, April 24, 2023

My Perfect Summer Dress

During the summer months, Washington and the surrounding areas can get pretty hot and sticky. When I do need to go out- I like being cool & stylish.

When I was younger, I found that classic styles suited me, even if it seemed they would also suit an older woman.

Today, though I still have many of my classic suits and dresses, they are now- more than a little tight and not made of today's popular stretchy fabrics.

The good news, I am losing weight. That said, I prefer the stretchier fabrics I have grown used to, and though I do no get out as much now- have been looking for a summer style I can dress up or down if the need arises.

I wanted to go with what works for me- and the style shown in the following images- is similar in style to some of my older summer dresses.

The first set of images are my color choices.

The remaining color options...

Though a little short (my older dresses were short too), I think I can get away with the length, and need only worry about my arms.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Content Creation Series- Day Planner Video

I have been trying to create professional quality content for my sites, e-commerce shop, brand partnerships, and videos, without paying professionals.

My current issues include:

  • Time
  • Need Models
  • More Lights
  • Dedicated Space

Yesterday (Friday, April 21, 2023), I setup a larger tripod and the Canon VIXIA HF R700 Camcorder in portrait mode to see if I could model while standing and walking. The answer is a resounding no, not with my current space and lighting constraints. I also think a model would be more effective for my needs, however, simply not in the budget at this time.

Yesterday's experiment results were frustrating.

On Thursday, April 20, 2023, I was expecting a package from Amazon, so I decided to film that part of my day. I used the Canon camcorder and my mini tripod to produce the following video content.

I thought the video was going to be a Youtube Short, so I filmed in portrait mode, however decided to keep more length than the Youtube Shorts' format allows.

I should have used landscape mode to shoot the video and this is another lesson learned. Video looks okay in local mode, however the Youtube resolution is off.

I hope to become more creative in this area, however though I am setting up templates and other formats to enable efficient use of my time, I feel I am spending too much time to create this type of content.

Products discussed in this post:


Thursday, April 20, 2023

Security Camera Experiment

Recently, I have been working a number of projects, including:

  • Four of my online applications have gone into disrepair- including:
    1. XML feed for JOLTS Labor (DOL) numbers provided on the WiredPages Employment page blocked. Repaired.
    2. History Channel no longer providing XML feed for current day's events. Affected the WiredPages Sports & Entertainment pages. In the process of searching for replacement feeds.
    3. Zillow property value estimates provided by Zillow. Expired API license.
  • Tracking my schedule more efficiently... (next post)
  • Experiment with a security cam and Alexa.

This post discusses the security cam experiment. For sometime I have wanted a camera for the front door. The problem? I did not want a battery operated camera, however felt a wired camera to much trouble for the experimental aspect of this project.

When I noticed security cameras that looked like light bulbs (August 2022) I immediately ordered one (around $10.00), however the shipment never arrived.

Recently, a highly rated LaView Light Bulb camera went on sale on Amazon, so I decided to experiment.

Because the original outdoor sconce (pictured) was too small to house the new camera, I setup the camera on a work light with a hook (also shown), which was attached to one of the garage doors.

Then ordered a larger outdoor sconce for the front porch (shown below).

The new front door sconce arrived the following Saturday (April 15, 2023) around 6:30 pm. I installed it later that evening. Ran into one or two problems, and happy I decided to cut the power to the outlet before I started work. By 8:30 pm or so, everything was back on and running correctly.

Pleased with how this is working out. The LaView app which controls the light bulb cam is installed on an Android, iPhone, and iPad mini. The Alexa Echo Show device is used to stream throughout the day, and the other devices in the evening or if more control over the camera is required.

Echo Show 5 (3rd Gen, 2023 release)

LaView 4MP Bulb Security Camera

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Pretty happy with the features on this security camera and the LaView app. The Echo Show does not have the same power, however the speaker, mic and display work well with the camera.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Microsoft 365 Productivity Tools

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with the Microsoft 365 brand via Amazon. I was provided a copy of Microsoft 365 Personal version, which I installed on a new HP laptop.

The Microsoft 365 Personal applications provided for this installation, included:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Outlook

The video provided in this post discusses this installation, however also discusses the Microsoft 365 Professional suite of applications I owned prior to my work with the brand.

The suite of applications that make up the Microsoft 365 Professional version include:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Access
  • Publisher
  • Outlook

I began using Microsoft Office in 1992 or so, and continued to use the professional suite of applications for business, legal, and personal use over the years. I was impressed when I first began using these applications, and I continue to be impressed.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

You Don't Have To Like Me

Lately, I have been preoccupied with personal and home security projects, so in addition to holiday meal preparation, my short term goals through last weekend included those efforts.

This morning, with most of my short term goals in place (have one or two remaining issues with the security projects) I refocused my attention on business efforts.

I have done a lot of research into online content creation resources, income potential, and those currently working in this area.

Though my research provides you probably should not give up your day job to become an online content creator- there is the potential for side income if you have the time.

That said, in my opinion part of the problem lies in how search engines find your content. Bloggers and other content creators used to use online forums and backlinks to create their web presence. Now it is more social media links and the number of likes.

The problem with someone like me? I do not chase social media likes nor posts.

I prefer backlinks and directories. For example, one of the Facebook groups to which I belong- provides membership for regional content creators. When I posted a question to the group searching for a post with a list of links for our members' content- the admin for the group responded that there was an old post somewhere. Upon further research, I discovered Facebook had deleted the post.

When I developed the Blogger Calendar Java application in 2004 for the platform, I created a blog post titled, "Dating Your Blog" using "Blogger Calendar" as a keyword.

I then posted to a great many online forums about my new application. Web directories and the older forums services (e.g., BBS) do not delete old forum threads with links.

When using Google, Yahoo, etc. to search for the term "Blogger Calendar" there were many returned references all pointing to one of my forum posts or the blog post itself. And my results were always at the top.

Content creators do not have as many backlinks to their content, instead a person on Facebook or Youtube liked your post. This does not provide the same backlink coverage the old forum posts and directories used to provide.

Of course you can always purchase the top of the search results list. How is that done today? In the past it was the backlinks from forum posts and online directories. I am no sure how Google creates backlinks today or if they are even needed to reach the top of their search results lists.

Social media 'likes' do not create backlinks.

When the Facebook admin responded to my query, I started thinking about how creators might be found without sinking entire budgets into advertising to get top search engine results. That is why I registered in late February 2023.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) used to mean- those offering those services went out and did what I did when I developed the Blogger Calendar app, post to a lot of different forums to get top ranking in search engines.

Forums have gone mostly by the wayside, so today I am unsure as to how those providing those services obtain top results in search engine rankings. Backlinks are important. Someone liked your page? Does that get you a backlink? That may get Instagram a backlink.

Because I have created my own online content, I know videos are especially time consuming and you need the right equipment. I use to provide income data for Youtube channels. Given the number of subscribers and the work effort to create some of those videos, I find it a little shocking as to the dollar amounts those creators are generating. Virtually nothing. Can you buy subscribers? It seems the subscribers are not returning.

Someone is making money. I am not sure if it is the creators. I get hits. I do not get credit. I have asked DOJ to investigate.

How do I know I get hits? One, I have to restart my private Tomcat servers on both my hosts too often which tends to show it is not only me visiting my sites. Two, there is other evidence, however a little harder for me to prove. Three, I am the sole admin for my high school alumni group of 6K members. I am sure they are curious about who I am. Why? I always get hits on an external alumni group I belong to. Though the Facebook group is active my business/personal site analytics do not reflect any traffic from this rather large group.

Last year, a large power admins group on Facebook invited me to join because of the high school alumni group. My group is considered clean and rates high on Facebook. Why are those members (Facebook high school alumni group) not curious about who I am- and those on the external alumni group seem to be? The external sites sends email messages about profile hits.

I do not think I am the only content provider not getting credit. What am I trying to do? Old School. Provide a way to have links found.

Sources suggest hits from this blog and other sites I offer do provide audience for links I include in my posts. I registered two new domains this morning- and at $10.74 per year for each.

Can I get you hits? I think so.

Saturday, April 01, 2023

March is over...

It was a long March. Seemed as if upon resolution of one problem, another turned up. Summary of the issues:

  • Auto problems with another of the vehicles.
  • Research into a tax question that I had not expected. Dealt with an IRA account.
  • Web hosting issues with both of the services I use to host my sites.
  • Issues with Amazon Native Ads.
  • After years of being a verified business on Facebook- QiSoftware is no longer verified. I have been working this problem on and off since June 2022. Looked at it again in March. Business bank statements, domain specification, business phone, and state records. Nothing seems to work. Not sure why my business was declassified on Facebook. Anything to do with layoffs at Meta? Not sure.

Accomplishments for the month of March...

  • Business bank appointment to update business related information. This went so smoothly I was on cloud nine. These days changing anything related to my business seems difficult.
  • Filed all of the tax returns I needed to take care of.
  • Minor updates to my new site- Maryland Bloggers
  • Updates to my Amazon Stores (see upper sidebar)
  • Work on a new video short that I hope to release next week.
  • Opened another HYSA with CIT.
  • Installed software on the new laptop.

March was mostly about taxes and business related issues. I have to say, I am happy all of that is behind me.

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