Archives

All posts by Mark Smith

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a tool useful for saving or retaining updated information on websites that you frequently visit or websites that are your favorite. RSS utilizes an XML code which scans continuously the content or subject matter of a certain website in search for new informations then transmits the information updates by way of feeding the information to subscribers.

RSS feeds are generally being utilized in blogs or news sites, though any website wanting to broadcast and publish information can use them. Once new information is sent, it will contain a headline, a little bit of text, and either a rundown or a brief review of the news or story. A link is needed be clicked upon to read further.

So as to accept RSS feeds, a feed reader is needed, called an aggregator. Aggregators are widely and freely available online, and all that is needed is a bit of searching, you will be able to locate a certain interface that best interest you. What’s more, RSS feeds can likewise be read and retrieved from cell phones and on PDAs.

Once you encounter upon a website that you want to add or insert to the aggregator, the process can be done in two ways. Almost all sites offering an RSS feed displays an “RSS” or “XML” button in their homepage and with one click, it promptly add that particular feed to one’s aggregator. Some aggregator however, requires the need to copy and then paste the URL of the feed unto the program.

Whatever the method used, you can be certain that the feed will be accessible soon as you have inserted it, likewise, in just seconds, the next update can arrive. In the event that you do not anymore would want to accept or take in updates, you may simply delete or erase the feed from the aggregator.

Through e-mail subscriptions, you can receive newsletters. RSS feeds on the other hand, can be more convenient in keeping up with newsletter updates since they are prompt and available in an instant; you no longer have to wait for a scheduled time or day to obtain a news summary, plus, these news will never be detained through a spam filter.
RSS feeds are widely used everyday by individuals who understand and appreciate the accessibility of fast reports and news that can be readily read and only read certain updates that appeals to them.

Aggregators

Aggregators are popular use of feeds, having several kinds. Web aggregators or portals as they are sometimes called, create this view which is then made available in a Web page. Also, Aggregators have been incorporated into e-mail patrons, users of desktops, or dedicated and standalone software.

Offering a collection of special features, such as combining more than a few related feeds in just a single view, hiding certain entries or statements that has been already viewed, and classifying entries and feeds, the aggregator is a versatile component.

Why make a feed available?

You will have more viewers, since now, your viewers can conveniently see your site without even going out and looking for that certain site. While at first, it may seem corrupt, it will in fact enhance the visibility of your site; this is so because users can easily keep up or keep tract with your site, to allow them to view in a way that they want to; it’s more probable that guests are aware should something that is in their interest is available or accessible on your site.

For instance, every month your website broadcasts a new feature. Having no feed, your viewers will always have to keep in mind to go to your site in a certain time to see if they discover something new; that is, if they can remember, and if they still have the time. However, if you supply a feed for your viewers, they can just point to their aggregator and it will instantly provide them a link along with a description of happenings or events at your site immediately.

What format to choose?

Syndication is very confusing as it uses a lot of formats that can usually be come across in the web. However, this can easily be solved as in general, syndicated libraries are used by aggregators which conceptualize a particular format that a feed is in, in order that they can utilize a certain syndication feed.

With this, whatever format to pick is just a matter of personal preference. RSS 1.0 is far reaching, and practical should it be integrated into Semantic Web systems. RSS 2.0 is very easy and simple create by hand. And atom is an IETF Standard, does it brings constancy, stability and a natural and accepted community to support its usage.

What is RSS?
You probably have seen this three-letter acronym in the course of your internet surfing. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary; syndicating means republishing an article that comes from another source such as a website.

An RSS is a means of publicizing updates about websites. It may or may not include a summary and photos of the latest posting. But those that provide summaries (thus Rich Site Summary) allow users to skim through the article so that they could decide later on if they want to access the website source. The RSS feed usually contains the title of the update originating from the website. It is also usually the link to the website source.

What are the benefits of RSS?
RSS gives benefits to both readers (users) and web publishers.

  1. It gives you the latest updates.
    Whether it is about the weather, new music, software upgrade, local news, or a new posting from a rarely-updates site learn about the latest as soon as it comes out.
  2. It saves on surfing time.
    Since an RSS feed provides a summary of the related article, it saves the user’s time by helping s/he decide on which items to prioritize when reading or browsing the net.
  3. It gives the power of subscription to the user.
    Users are given a free-hand on which websites to subscribe in their RSS aggregators which they can change at any time they decide differently.
  4. It lessens the clutter in your inbox.
    Although your email address will be required to enjoy the services of online RSS aggregators, RSS does not use your email address to send the updates.
  5. It is spam free.
    Unlike email subscriptions, RSS does not make use of your email address to send updates thus your privacy is kept safe from spam mails.
  6. Unsubscribing is hassle-free.
    Unlike email subscriptions where the user is asked questions on why s/he is unsubscribing and then the user would be asked to confirm unsubscribing, all you have to do is to delete the RSS feed from your aggregator.
  7. It can be used as an advertising or marketing tool.
    Users who subscribe or syndicate product websites receive the latest news on products and services without the website sending spam mail. This is advantageous to both the web user and the website owner since advertising becomes targeted; those who are actually interested in their products are kept posted.

What are the drawbacks of RSS?
The disadvantages of RSS use are brought about by its being a new technology and some user-preference concerns.

  1. Some users prefer receiving email updates over an RSS feed.
  2. Graphics and photos do not appear in all RSS feeds.
    For conciseness and ease of publication, RSS feeds do not display the photos from the original site in announcing the update except for some web-based aggregators
  3. The identity of the source website can be confusing.
    Since RSS feeds do not display the actual URL or name of the website, it can sometimes get confusing on what feed a user is actually reading.
  4. Publishers cannot determine how many users are subscribed to their feed and the frequency of their visits. Moreover, they would not know the reasons why users unsubscribe which could be important in improving their advertising.
  5. RSS feeds create higher traffic and demands on the server.
    Most readers still prefer the whole update over a brief summary of the entry, thus they still access the site.
  6. Since it is a new technology, many sites still do not support RSS.

How do I start using RSS?
There are two things needed: an RSS feed and an RSS aggregator or reader. The RSS feed comes from an RSS-supported website. There are also websites that provide a list of RSS feeds of different websites. An RSS aggregator is used to read the RSS feed from the source website. It scans and collects data on latest RSS feeds from the worldwide web.

An aggregator comes in two forms: a downloadable program also known as desktop aggregator and an online or web-based aggregator. Downloadable aggregators may require payment before they can be acquired, while internet-based aggregators are usually free of charge. All you need to do is to register an account then you are ready to use their services. Both versions allow you to customize or choose which RSS feeds to enter. Paid aggregators are usually chosen by more experienced users and they usually allow more freedom in customizing feeds.

  1. Choose an RSS aggregator to use. For beginners, web-based aggregators are recommended since they are usually user-friendly
  2. Scan the homepage of your target website for the RSS or XML button. It contains the RSS code you need to enter in the aggregator. Copy this code. Syndic8 provides a directory of websites that support RSS.
  3. Paste the code (which contains the URL of the website) in your aggregator. There is a space provided for pasting the code.

After you have done these three easy steps, you can start reading the RSS feeds coming from the website. New postings appear as they are published real time at the source website.

RSS and Internet Marketing

The original idea of RSS came from Netscape, where their intention is to provide a means for users to customize their personal homepage to contain links to websites that interest them, similar to bookmarking websites.

The application of RSS to internet marketing was an unforeseen development to RSS technology developers. Since users are given the freedom to add RSS feeds to their aggregators, those who are interested in particular products and services available in the internet can now be notified real time. Marketing becomes more specific to interested people and not a hit-and-miss operation.

Those who intend to use RSS for marketing their products and services should consider linking up with email account providers, (e.g. Yahoo, MSN, Google mail); networking websites (e.g. Friendster, Multiply, My Space, Hi5); websites of newspapers and television network websites (e.g. New York Times, CNN) for medium to big-scale companies. Small-time industries can also look into networking websites as well as personal blog websites (e.g. Blogspot) and websites of clubs and organizations that would probably make use of their products or services e.g. a fishing supplies store can look for the website of their local fishing club for possible RSS marketing.

Clearly, RSS is an innovation in information management in the worldwide web as well as online marketing. We can expect better RSS technology in the not-so-distant future as its popularity increases among users and website owners alike.

Each individual has a risk tolerance that should not be ignored. Any good stock broker or financial planner knows this, and they should make the effort to help you determine what your risk tolerance is. Then, they should work with you to find investments that do not exceed your risk tolerance.

Determining one’s risk tolerance involves several different things. First, you need to know how much money you have to invest, and what your investment and financial goals are.

For instance, if you plan to retire in ten years, and you’ve not saved a single penny towards that end, you need to have a high risk tolerance – because you will need to do some aggressive – risky – investing in order to reach your financial goal.

On the other side of the coin, if you are in your early twenties and you want to start investing for your retirement, your risk tolerance will be low. You can afford to watch your money grow slowly over time.

Realize of course, that your need for a high risk tolerance or your need for a low risk tolerance really has no bearing on how you feel about risk. Again, there is a lot in determining your tolerance.

For instance, if you invested in the stock market and you watched the movement of that stock daily and saw that it was dropping slightly, what would you do?

Would you sell out or would you let your money ride? If you have a low tolerance for risk, you would want to sell out… if you have a high tolerance, you would let your money ride and see what happens. This is not based on what your financial goals are. This tolerance is based on how you feel about your money!

Again, a good financial planner or stock broker should help you determine the level of risk that you are comfortable with, and help you choose your investments accordingly.

Your risk tolerance should be based on what your financial goals are and how you feel about the possibility of losing your money. It’s all tied in together.

If you are anxious to get your investments started, you can get started right away without having a lot of knowledge about the stock market. Start by being a conservative investor with a low risk tolerance. This will give you a way to making your money grow while you learn more about investing.

Start with an interest bearing savings account. You may already have one. If you don’t, you should. A savings account can be opened at the same bank that you do your checking at – or at any other bank. A savings account should pay 2 – 4% on the money that you have in the account. Some places pay more if you have a higher balance.

It’s not a lot of money – unless you have a million dollars in that account – but it is a start, and it is money making money.

Next, invest in money market funds. This can often be done through your bank. These funds have higher interest payouts than typical savings accounts, but they work much the same way. These are short term investments, so your money won’t be tied up for a long period of time – but again, it is money making money.

Certificates of Deposit are also sound investments with no risk. The interest rates on CD’s are typically higher than those of savings accounts or Money Market Funds.

You can select the duration of your investment, and interest is paid regularly until the CD reaches maturity. CD’s can be purchased at your bank, and your bank will insure them against loss. When the CD reaches maturity, you receive your original investment, plus the interest that the CD has earned.

If you are just starting out, one or all of these three types of investments is the best starting point. Again, this will allow your money to start making money for you while you learn more about investing in other places.

Depending on the type of investing that you plan to do, you may need to hire a broker to handle your investments for you. Brokers work for brokerage houses and have the ability to buy and sell stock on the stock exchange. You may wonder if you really need a broker. The answer is yes. If you intend to buy or sell stocks on the stock exchange, you must have a broker.

Stockbrokers are required to pass two different tests in order to obtain their license. These tests are very difficult, and most brokers have a background in business or finance, with a Bachelors or Masters Degree.

It is very important to understand the difference between a broker and a stock market analyst. An analyst literally analyzes the stock market, and predicts what it will or will not do, or how specific stocks will perform. A stock broker is only there to follow your instructions to either buy or sell stock, not to analyze stocks.

Brokers earn their money from commissions on sales in most cases. When you instruct your broker to buy or sell a stock, they earn a set percentage of the transaction. Many brokers charge a flat ‘per transaction’ fee.

There are two types of brokers:

  • Full service brokers and discount brokers. Full service brokers can usually offer more types of investments, may provide you with investment advice, and is usually paid in commissions.
  • Discount brokers typically do not offer any advice and do no research – they just do as you ask them to do, without all of the bells and whistles.

So, the biggest decision you must make when it come to brokers is whether you want a full service broker or a discount broker.

If you are new to investing, you may need to go with a full service broker to ensure that you are making wise investments. They can offer you the skill that you lack at this point. However, if you are already knowledgeable about the stock market, all you really need is a discount broker to make your trades for you.

And in the previous article I posted, A Little About Online Trading, I mentioned online trading which can be called a Discount broker at most of the sites if you are not talking to a Full service broker or getting any type of advice. The online site I used in the past was a “Discount Broker” and all I had to do was put in my buy or sell order.

The invention of the Internet has brought about many changes in the way that we conduct our lives and our personal business. We can pay our bills online, shop online, bank online, and even date online!

We can even buy and sell stocks online. Traders love having the ability to look at their accounts whenever they want to, and brokers like having the ability to take orders over the Internet, as opposed to the telephone.

Most brokers and brokerage houses now offer online trading to their clients. Another great thing about trading online is that fees and commissions are often lower. While online trading is great, there are some drawbacks.

If you are new to investing, having the ability to actually speak with a broker can be quite beneficial. If you aren’t stock market savvy, online trading may be a dangerous thing for you. If this is the case, make sure that you learn as much as you can about trading stocks before you start trading online.

You should also be aware that you don’t have a computer with Internet access attached to you. Some phones that use apps can allow you to do the same things as a computer connectted to the internet because the phones are wi-fi enabled and if you have a data plan then you can do some of the same things as with a regular computer. But if you can call and speak with a broker at the company you decide to use, then you’ll have a backup method of getting things done. So, whether you are an advanced trader or a beginner you have options.

It is also a good idea to go with an online brokerage company that has been around for a while. You won’t find one that has been in business for fifty years of course, but you can find a company that has been in business that long and now offers online trading.

Again, online trading is a beautiful thing – but it isn’t for everyone. Think carefully before you decide to do your trading online, and make sure that you really know what you are doing!

First, answer these questions truthfully:

1.) Does your spouse or partner complain that you spend too much money?

2.) Are you surprised each month when your credit card bill arrives at how much more you charged than you thought you had?

3.) Do you have more shoes and clothes in your closet than you could ever possibly wear?

4.) Do you own every new gadget before it has time to collect dust on a retailer’s shelf?

5.) Do you buy things you didn’t know you wanted until you saw them on display in a store?

If you answered “yes” to any two of the above questions, you are an impulse spender and indulge yourself in retail therapy.

This is not a good thing. It will prevent you from saving for the important things like a house, a new car, a vacation or retirement. You must set some financial goals and resist spending money on items that really don’t matter in the long run.

Impulse spending will not only put a strain on your finances but your relationships, as well. To overcome the problem, the first thing to do is learn to separate your needs from your wants.

Advertisers blitz us hawking their products at us 24/7. The trick is to give yourself a cooling-off period before you buy anything that you have not planned for.

When you go shopping, make a list and take only enough cash to pay for what you have planned to buy. Leave your credit cards at home.

If you see something you think you really need, give yourself two weeks to decide if it is really something you need or something you can easily do without. By following this simple solution, you will mend your financial fences and your relationships.

Why us this article in the Investing category?
This is the first step to getting ready to invest. You will need some savings to invest, but I would suggest not investing all of your savings when you find something to invest in. I myself am trying to limit my investment in crypto currency to $20 per month plus any commissions or earnings I get from online things like affiliate marketing.

If you’re going to start a garden one of the most important things to consider is the structure of the soil. Not all plant life will grow in all soil conditions and therefore before you waste your seeds, it is best to know what type of soil you are dealing with and how you can go about improving it so that it can properly nourish the plants you wish to grow.

Soil Tests
In order to achieve high quality plant growth the soil has to have decent pH levels. PH levels are measured on a scale of 1 to 14 with 7 being neutral. Soil that is rated below a 7 is acidic (also known as sour), whereas soil rated higher than a 7 is alkaline (also known as sweet). These numbers are needed to determine how well the plant will draw nutrients from the soil.
By taking a soil test you can easily find out if your soil is neutral, acidic, or alkaline and make the proper adjustments according to the types of plants you wish to grow. In any case, most plants can withstand the neutral soil conditions with a rating of anywhere from 5.2 to 7.2. If your soil is too acidic or alkaline you will need to add either lime or sulfur.
You can easily find a soil testing kit by visiting a home improvement store. The kits will provide you with an instant analysis of the type of soil you have, its pH levels, and the nutrient levels. If you don’t want to test it yourself you can also check local laboratories that can test the soil for you. Results will not happen instantly and take a few weeks to return. However, some new gardeners prefer going to a lab because they also receive advice on how to amend the soil to better conditions.

Steps to Home Testing Your Soil
If you’ve purchased a home soil testing kit you will see that it includes some vials and tablets for you to test the soil. There are charts available to help you interpret the results with ease. Be sure to carefully follow all the instructions on the kit for the best results. All you need to do is stick the meter probe into the soil and review the chart for your results.

Steps to Lab Testing Your Soil
If you are going to send your soil samples off for analysis by a laboratory you are going to need to have a garden trowel, a clean bucket, and a clean plastic container. Next you will need to sterilize and thoroughly clean the tools you will be using to collect the sample. Then in the area you intend to plant in, dig up five holes that measure about six to eight inches deep. Remove a ½ inch slice along the side of a hole and put it into the bucket repeating this process for all five of the holes. Mix all the soil into a bucket and then spread it onto a newspaper to fully dry out. Collect a least a pint for a significant sample.

Weeds whether pretty attractive or downright ugly can be a pain in the neck. They can grow in your garden, walkways, sidewalks, and even up the side of your home if not properly removed. If you are looking for safe do it yourself solutions on how to rid yourself of weeds, you have come to the right place. Below are a few common and uncommon ways for which you can kiss those weeds goodbye.

Baking Soda
If you’re looking for a great way to keep the weeds at bay you can easily sprinkle a handful of baking soda onto the concrete areas in your yard which can include the driveways, patios, and walkways. The sodium makes it a less friendly environment for troublesome weeds like dandelions.

Bleach
Another option for getting rid of weeds found on concrete is to pour a bit of undiluted bleach over the concrete. Let the bleach sit for about a day or so and then proceed to remove them. They should remove much easier and the bleach prevents it from returning so soon.

Carpet Scraps
Did you know that a few pieces of carpet scraps turned upside down can keep your garden free from weeds? Place the carpet upside down and cover it with mulch.

Plastic Shower Curtains
Another great way to keep the weeds at bay in your garden is to utilize a shower curtain. When doing landscaping that involves gravel or bark chips all you have to do is place the shower curtain underneath the mulching materials. This prevents the weeds from poking through.

Vinegar
Another great solution for troublesome weeds poking through your driveway or patio is to try some vinegar. Using a plastic spray bottle you can easily rid yourself of weeds by spraying some full strength apple cider or white vinegar. Early in your gardening season gently spritz your plant in the middle of the flower before the plants go to seed. Spraying more around the stem near the ground will allow the vinegar to also soak into the roots. However, this should be done on a day where there won’t be any rain for a few days after. If it does rain you will need to re-spray the plants again.

Vodka
You probably wouldn’t have though to look to your liquor cabinet for a safe remedy to get rid of weeds but vodka can work wonders. All you need to do is mix about one ounce of vodka with a few drops of liquid dish soap, about two cups of water into a plastic spray bottle. Generously spray it on the leaves of the weeds until the solution is dripping off. By also applying it to the weeds on a sunny day is a great way to help the alcohol break down the wax barrier found on leaves. This allows the leaves to become hydrated and thus will kill the weeds.

Last but not least on the list of easy remedies to try for getting rid of weeds is WD-40. This is great for prickly weeds such as the Russian Thistle. WD-40 will speed up the withering process and cause them to die.

If you’re a new gardener the very sight of warm spring weather makes you think about planting. The onset of warmer temperatures is nature’s way of saying that the winter frost has passed and gardening season is well on its way. While your seeds will need to be prepped in different ways, there are some basics you can do such as prepping the soil so that you’re ready once planting season begins.

Let’s Get Physical
It is important to point out that there is going to be quite a bit of physical work involved, however, it is very self explanatory and can be done with ease. The process is simple step by step and does not all have to be done at once. So for those who have a larger garden area, prepping your soil in parts is okay so that you don’t stress yourself out physically.

Start Date
Don’t let the warm weather fool you. Simply because the temperatures have changed does not mean it is the best time to begin working on your soil. Prematurely digging into wet soil can damage the structure and cause long term damage to your crops. A great way to test the moisture levels in your soil is to take a handful of it and drop it to the ground while holding it approximately at waist height. If the soil does not break apart that means that it is not ready to work with.

Making Room
If your soil is dry enough to work with then you can begin garden bed preparations by getting rid of all the surface vegetation. This means removing any unwanted weeds or dead crops from the ground.

Fixing the Soil
Once you have your garden bed all cleared out it is time to add any amendments to the soil that you may need. Some prefer to add in a few inches of compost as well as fertilizers to enhance the quality of the soil. If you can, you should also check the PH balance of your soil to see if you need to add either limestone to acidic soil or pipe sawdust for soils that are alkaline. This can be done by scattering either limestone or pipe sawdust around the soil and then incorporating it in. When soil is in good shape you only have to dig a few inches utilizing a fork, however, for compacted soil it may take more time to dig so that you can get the ingredients mixed into the soil.
After you have completed adding the amendments to the soil to improve its overall structure and quality you are now ready for the final step. You will need to break apart all of the large solid clumps of soil you might find laying around. This can be done with a fork easily. Then after breaking up the clumps you should shape the bed using a rake. After your garden bed has been shaped properly you are ready to begin sowing or planting once your garden season officially arrives.