Internet Advertising: Changing and Staying the Same…

November 12, 2009 at 2:30 pm (Internet surfing, Personal life) (, )

Ah… banner ads. Aren’t they inspiring? Yeah, not really. More like obnoxious. That’s the fun part about using Internet services, you get to see a lot of banners ads–those side and overhead bars of advertising that lure you in one way or another to click on them, only to be taken to this poorly designed website claiming something unrealistic and wanting your personal information to “sign up now!” or “buy this great product!”. I often wonder who designs banners ads, and who is gullible enough to click on them! It must be working great for them, because they’re still around!

The first banner ads I remember were ones the flashed in annoying bright colors telling me that I won!!! I was the 100,000th visitor (every single time!) or the ones telling me I have a virus or spyware or malware and would I like to clean my computer now? Just click here!

And there were the trivia questions. “What celebrity baby picture is this? Who’s lips/legs/eyes are these?” “What to you think about <current celebrity gossip or political candidate>?” The funny thing is, most of the time, the entire ad, including the white space is a clickable area, so you don’t even have to choose an ‘answer’ to be redirected! Seriously?!

My favorite banner ads were the interactive ones, where you had to punch, swat, hit, or outrun something, those are the good ones! They make you fight to get to the useless spam sites! :-D I found myself clicking on these just for fun… oh yes.. I know, the evils of clicking on banner ads… tsk tsk tsk! It was fun! My favorite was the spitting on pedestrians from the roof of a tall building one! You had to move back and forth along the roof and aim just right so it would actually hit them by the time it landed on the ground! Who comes up with this stuff?!

Then there’s the click on the ninja one before he disappears again one. The escape the angry bull one. The outrun the police one. The beat up the suma wrestler one. …and the list goes on!

Although the ‘goal’ is different, most banner ads haven’t changed much over the years. For example, now you can beat up Obama instead of beating up Bush! Ooo! Tempting!

And… *drumroll* The number one most obnoxious banner ad! dun dun dun! The Transform Your Body Banner Ads!!! Yuck! Who wants to see random pictures of people’s ugly before’s in comparison to their ‘hott’ after’s! Not me!

First there was the belly fat one. It would show someone’s sagging, oversized abdominal section, next to a skinny girl’s flat stomach. It was so obvious its a different person! She doesn’t have stretch marks!

Then there was the teeth one. GROSS! First we get to see someone’s dirty, stained teeth so we can see what pretty white teeth look like. I think we all don’t need to see enlarged images of ugly teeth to know the difference! (But hey, at least we got a break for them sagging stomaches!)

Oh, and the “I got fired and now I make thousands of dollars from home!” ads, showing pictures of people holding their gargantuan checks from Google or some other Internet company! Yeah, I’ll get right on that!

These banner ad people must’ve finally figured we don’t like seeing ugly pictures of people’s stomaches, so now they show ripped men’s chests with huge vein-covered bulging arms, bragging they’ll tell you how to get ripped!!! I had to laugh when I saw an ad of a before and after. The two images showed a matching tattoo on the man’s chest to prove it was the same guy! That’s ingenious!

This recent one takes the cake. Let’s not show gross teethsexy mouth chewing on glass... yeah. anymore! It’s the same advertisement about some single mom discovering the cure for white teeth and blah blah blah, but this time it shows sexy pictures of full, luscious lips and perfect white teeth, but they’re chewing on glass?!! Why?!!

So… in summary, lol, advertising on banner ads: they change. But they’re still the same. A waste of time hoping to catch some gullible victim with whatever dazzling tactic they come up with. Nice.

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Arts, crafts, and the Internet

October 27, 2009 at 11:37 am (Internet surfing, Personal life) (, )

I have always enjoyed art–painting, drawing, sculpting–even music and drama. Now that I have graduated college and work full time, I try to keep the arts in my life. I also enjoy teaching, but try as I might, I don’t have a very commanding presence, so it’s hard for me to keep the attention of a large group of kids. You know how those teachers growing up were either so likeable or so scary that you listened when they talked? That’s my theory. They had the commanding presence, I don’t.

So, I never pursued teaching, but I still can do one on one or teach very small groups. I asked my aunt who homeschools her two children if I could teach them art as a part of her curriculum. She was very excited and, to my slight dismay, volunteered me to teach the children of three more homeschool families she knew.

I wasn’t sure if I was ready for this, but I accepted. Now to come up with an art project. I remembered a “ocean life” art class from my middle school involving chalk and stencils of sea creatures.

I couldn’t find said stencils anywhere (ok, I didn’t look very hard!) but I decided I preferred making my own stencils. Enter Internet Services! I just did a Google search for sea animal stencils. I found the most fascinating and widest variety of sharks, dolphins, shells, and fish. It was so easy! And free! I then printed them out and tranferred the shapes to pieces of cardboard. Voila!

The class turned out very well! Part of that was probably because half of the kids didn’t show up. <_< But even so, we all had fun and I’m looking forward to next month’s class. I even think I’ll be able to handle all four families. In the meantime, I must say, the Internet’s vast resources never cease to amaze me!

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Websites Then and Now–Don’t Miss This!

October 16, 2009 at 1:50 pm (Internet surfing, Technology) (, , , , , )

Along with the evolution of Internet and Internet services, the way we make websites has dramatically changed! Where we used to have text, a few colors, and clipart, we now have dynamic graphics, multimedia features, interactive banners, and so much more!

Did you know you can see what websites used to look like? I just discovered this today. Check out the Wayback Machine! How cool is this?

The following pictures were from right around a decade ago. It’s fascinating to see how different they look today! From 1996, here’s MSN.com:

MSN.com 1996

And… Yahoo.com! (or should I say Yahoo! .com…) :-)

Yahoo.com 1996

Isn’t that precious?! And here’s Google.com circa 1998…

Google.com 1998

 

And, I know this is only four years ago… but just think about how much this site has changed!

Facebook.com 2005

Remember when Facebook.com was just for college students?

Check out more great memories at archive.org!

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The Top Concerns of Internet Users According to Google

October 12, 2009 at 3:57 pm (Internet surfing) (, , )

The Internet is a wonderful–and sometimes terrible thing. While subscribing to Internet services is like a virtual gateway to the world and all the things it offers, I sometimes wonder how it has changed our lives and our thinking. 

About a month ago I decided to investigate the top Google searches. This was not as easy as I imagined. But I did find some interesting things that you might find entertaining.

Enter Google Zeitgeist. Zeit means “time”, and geist means “spirit”, so it’s pretty much a summary of the “intectual, moral, and cultural climate” over a period of time. I decided to share some of the things that can be found here (and my comments) today. :-)

Fastest Rising Searches Globally of 2008:

  • sarah palin   (haha!)
  • beijing 2008
  • facebook login
  • tuenti
  • heath ledger   (figures)
  • obama
  • nasza klasa
  • wer kennt wen
  • euro 2008
  • jonas brothers   (oh dear…)
  • Vice presidential candidate beats President for fastest rising search term globally… but not in the US.

  • obama
  • facebook
  • att
  • iphone
  • youtube
  • fox news
  • palin
  • beijing 2008
  • david cook
  • surf the channel
  •  …Apparently people in the US don’t know how to type an address in the address bar. And although Obama beat Palin in the US for general searches, “Sarah Palin” was number one for both Google News and Google Images–no Obama on either list.

    Google Trends is another feature that shows popular searches–it’s for the current year and broken down to each day. Here’s the top searched query for the last week:

    • Monday: boyles furniture (company was celebrating 60 anniversary, featured on the Today Show)
    • Tuesday: notehall (website where college lecture notes and study guides can be bought and sold–appeared on ABC show “Shark Tank”)
    • Wednesday: wanda sykes wife (lesbian comedian who spoke on HBO about her wife and politics)
    • Thursday: brooke astor (American socialite whose son was found guilty of stealing from her)
    • Friday: obama nobel peace prize (kinda self-explanatory)
    • Saturday: stephen gately (Bandmember of Boyzone died that day)
    • Sunday: army wives season 4  (Season 3 ended that night)

    My verdict: We care about whatever’s on TV that night…

    You might want to check out Google Trends. I have to forwarn you, they are completely different from one day to another and most of them have to do with celebrity gossip and deaths. And you will probably start searching the terms about just to see what the fuss was about!

    And, last but not least, enter Google Suggest. This is great. I guess Google fills in the blank based on similar searches from other people–or at least what Google considers to be a pressing concern for most Internet searchers. Here are a few that I found entertaining (warning: this is addicting!):

    *Start typing “should my” and the first suggestion is “should my poop float”! Other suggestions include “should my muscles be sore after a workout” and “should my girlfriend hang out with other guys”

    *Start typing “what if my” and you find out there’s really only three things that people must worry about: their dogs, poop (again? really?), and periods.

    *Start typing “can you g” and EVERY suggestion has to do with pregnancy (especially in concern with periods) except “can you get mono twice”.

    *Start typing “why do” and apparently the number one question on people’s minds is “why do men have nipples”. Other pressing issues have to do with dogs, cats, and various bodily functions.

    Last but not least… if you ever need to know why…

    google suggest

    It kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

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    Opera 10: Now This is COOL!

    October 8, 2009 at 11:42 am (Internet surfing, product review) (, , , )

    I finally downloaded Opera 10.00 on my computer. This is a browser like I haven’t seen before. Of course, I am into features and learning about all the bells and whistles, so if you’re the “just download and use it” kind of person, you might be confused about how to get certain things to work or not notice much of a difference from any other browser. Regardless, there are some things you may like about Opera even if all you want is a basic browser.

    The download itself is 6.6 MB. This should only take about 25 minutes on a dial-up connection, maybe more if you have a particularly slow one. Either way, definitely not a problem for dial-up. The installation, like most programs, is very simple to do. No worries!

    There’s a lot of features that Opera has that are similar to other browsers: tabbed browsing, offering to save passwords, and an interactive address bar that shows suggestions from history, etc. But Opera has gone a step further where other browsers, especially Internet Explorer have not ventured. Here are a few things you won’t find on IE:

    • Transformed Speed Dial—a page of thumbnails to your favorite sites. This is great for big surfers who go to multiple sites frequently. It’s better than a favorites lists! You may have seen this on Chrome and Firefox, but on Chrome, the sites are chosen for you based on your browsing habits. On Firefox, you can only have 9 that you can manually enter. On Opera, you can enter up to 25 websites and load a personalized background picture! The speed dial page appears every time you open a new tab.speed dial with personalized background
    • More Choices Upon Arrival. Instead of just an option of opening to the homepage, or several home pages, like on IE, Opera allows you to reopen the last session, open your home page, or open your Speed Dial page.

    • Interactive tabs. If you like surfing on multiple sites at once, you can really benefit from these features. 1, Hover over each tab to get a small window showing a preview of that page. 2, click and drag under a tab to expand the tabs into small preview windows for all your tabs. 3. Rightexpanded tabs and tab placement click on your tab bar for more tab options, including moving the tabs (or preview windows) to the left, right, or bottom of your browser! Beat that IE! :-)

    …and, for dial-up Internet services users (and anyone else who needs to get things done quickly), check out these shortcuts and time-savers!

    • Turbo Mode! Click the little speedometer icon in the lower left corner of the browser to enable the turbo feature. It compresses pictures (it makes them slightly blurrier), allowing webpages to come up much faster than regular mode.
    • Image Options. This feature (located in the bottom right of the browser) lets you choose how images are loaded on the website. You can choose to view no images, cached images, or all images for your protection and for faster browsing. Choosing “no images” is handy for making quick payment online, where you just need the pages to load to complete the transaction and seeing that logo or background images is the least of your concerns.

    • Awesome Search Options. In the address bar, type “g running shoes” and you will be taken to a page of Google search results for the keywords running shoes. What a great way to save time! There are also shortcuts for Amazon, Ebay, Wiki, and more! Check out the preferences for the whole list.

    • Auto-fill Form Entries. This is genius! You can add your name, address, email, and phone numbers in your preferences, and Opera will fill out all those online forms for you! This will save time when signing up for memberships and online shopping.

    There are other options that may interest you. This will be a lot to take in if you’ve never used Opera. Be forewarned, other browsers will seem slow, boring, and restrictive after this! :-) Just go to opera.com and click on the green “Download Opera” button to get started! I highly recommend this for dial-up users! While you’re on the website, be sure to read the features listed for Opera browser. It will help you understand how Opera works and enable you to maximize its benefits to you.

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    To Myrtle Beach and Back

    October 5, 2009 at 2:48 pm (broadband, Dial up, Internet surfing) (, , )

    I’m back from vacation! *sigh* It’s ok–I wouldn’t want to be on vacation forever, and it’s nice to sleep in my own bed, but Ohio in October is shockingly cold after a week at Myrtle Beach!

    Last week I attended a small wedding with the setting sun lighting the couple’s excited faces and the waves washing over their feet. It was beautiful! Here’s a few fun facts if you are considering having a beach wedding:

    Pros:

    • Gorgeous free scenery
    • No flowers, music, decorations and big, long, poofy dress to pay for (at least, I wouldn’t recommend a such a dress)
    • Friends and family who can afford to come love it!
    • Honeymoon is within walking distance! Woot! :-D

    Cons

    • Friends and family may not come because of expenses or schedules.
    • Said persons will probably complain, whine, grumble, and fume both behind you back and to your face that they couldn’t see you get married.
    • You either don’t get to wear that big poofy dress, or you’ll get it very wet and/or dirty.

    Hmm.. I think that’s it. In other thoughts, Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth must make a killing in Myrtle Beach, because there is a pancake house on every block down there! And don’t get me started on the Bargain Beachwear stores. Large illuminated pastel buildings screaming deals exactly the same as the 20 other stores within 5 miles quickly lose their validity. The beach was nice, but I’m probably not going back any time soon.

    Our hotel was decent and not too expensive, so that was a relief. We had a nice veiw of the ocean! I have never seen the ocean at night, and let me tell you, that is spectacular! Like most hotels these days, we had free wireless Internet services. I took my laptop, but I barely used it. Ever feel that itch in your fingers when you finally have broadband access right there but you can’t think of a website you wanna go to? I definitely felt that. It’s a dial-up thing, so some of you might not understand. Hehe!

    Well, I’ll be catching up on news and info soon and keeping you informed on all things dialup and Internet–or at least my opinion. ;-) Have a great day!

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    Going on vacation… but one more thing…

    September 25, 2009 at 1:14 pm (Internet surfing) (, , )

    Just a quick note to say why I haven’t been posting and won’t be posting next week: First of all, I’ve been working on other projects to get ready for my vacation next week! :-D And, obviously, the reason I’m not going to be posting next week is because I’ll be on vacation! :-D I’m excited if you haven’t guessed!

    By the way, I haven’t had a chance to try it out for myself, but I keep reading about Opera 10. Opera is a browser, a competitor of Internet Explorer or Firefox, but not too prominently known so far. Opera is a proprietary (not open source like Chrome and Firefox) software company. They actually make all kinds of programs, like a mail server and gadgets for your phone, etc. I don’t know all the details, but I plan to research them more soon.

    Even though Opera holds only a small market share of the Internet browers users, they are still well loved by a small group of loyal fans and constantly coming up with a new and better browser–just like all of the other little guys.

    Anyway, Opera version 10 recently came out, although I’ve been hearing about it months ago when the beta version was released. This version isn’t that astoundingly advanced with tons of new features or anything, but it’s getting a lot of attention for its “turbo mode”, a setting that is made just for dial-up users (yay that’s for me!) to accelerate web page loading, etc. They say it works miracles! Ok, not really, but clearly I’m interested. Anyone who has dial-up (shout out to my fellow 11 million-ish U.S. dial-upers!) can appreciate something that will make dial-up internet services faster, right?!!

    So, since I’m trying to keep up with the times but unfortunately don’t have time to download it now or review here until maybe two weeks from now, I still wanted to quickly mention it. I’m not giving my thumbs up just yet, but you might wanna take a look.

    It’s a free download, just go to www.opera.com, and click the green “Download Opera” button. Have you already tried it? Let me know what you think! Have a great weekend and next week!

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    From Then to Now: The Post Office

    September 15, 2009 at 12:02 pm (Internet surfing) (, , )

    The Internet has become a vital resource for information throughout the world. This simply shows how fast our world is changing, considering the Internet was unheard of 20 years ago. Communication is one of the most prominent uses of Internet services and computers today, and we’ve come so far from our earliest records of communication. The following posts will share some of our greatest events in the history of communication, and compare it to our high-tech, high-speed transfer of information today. Here is a look at a well known establishment that enabled and revolutionized communication, how it started, and where it is today.

    The Post Office

    Then: The very first postal service was in China in 900 BC and was for government use. The Romans established their first post office in 14 AD.

    In the US, the first post office was in Boston, starting in 1639.  Of course, the Pony Express is a well known early mail delivery system, which began in 1861. In 1918, scheduled airmail began.

    Now: The US Post Office launched its Internet site in 1994. The Internet continues to play a significant role in the post offices. On their website, you can report a change of address, track packages as they are being shipped, create personalized stamped envelopes, and print postage labels, or shipping supplies, and look up shipping information.

    Email and business websites have eliminated the need for countless items at one time handled solely by the Post Office. Personal letters to friends, billing statements, reciepts, newsletters, and catalogs are often only transferred online. Many companies encourage their customers to do most of their business online to avoid the abundant use of paper and save the cost of postage.

    A recent article stated that this drop in mail volume has  strongly effected the US Postal Services. Staff was cut by 25,000 this year alone, routes are being dropped and combined, and the price of postage was raised in efforts to cover losses. Competitors like UPS and FedEx handle many shipping items once handled by the USPS. The economy has also caused a major drop in advertising by mail, which is another major factor in the reduced mail volume.

    Even after the economy bounces back, mail volume is not expected to increase. In the near future, some small town post offices and branch offices may close, and delivery may reduce to 5 days a week.

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    Google Chrome–Not much to it!

    August 27, 2009 at 3:06 pm (Internet surfing, product review) (, , , , )

    About a month ago, I researched the top most popular browsers for Internet services and wrote a little bit about Google Chrome. Unfortunately, I hadn’t gotten a chance to download it at home and see if it was as great as they made it out to be. Well, now I have downloaded it, so I would like to share my experience.

    First of all, Google Chrome is dial-up friendly! The download size (just over 5 MB) took maybe 20 minutes at the most to download.  Compare that the IE8, which is 16 MB, over three times the size of Chrome!

    But there’s a reason Chrome is so much smaller–there almost nothing on it! You don’t have the piles of toolbars, accesories, and features you see on IE8, but it’s just as capable of accessing websites. And isn’t that what a browser is essentially for?

    As far as the speed, I honestly didn’t see much of a difference, but I didn’t run any comparison tests or measure loading times. Because of it’s simplicity, I tend to believe the reports of others saying it does run faster. Here a few things I like about Chrome:

    * Address bar searching. You can Google search keyword straight from the address bar. Not bad, considering almost everyone already searches with Google, and visits Google.com more than any other website.

    * New tab page. When you click on the new tab button, you don’t just get a blank page, you get 9 thumbnails of your frequently visited sites (that  can be edited), recently used search engines, recent bookmarks, and recently closed tabs (in case you didn’t mean to close the tab you were just on).

    * Dynamic tabs. Ok, so by now we’re all used to tab browsing, and being able to reorder tabs, but Chrome takes it one step further: tabs can become their own windows, and separate windows can become tabs! You can pull tabs down to become a separate window, or drag a window into a tab row of another window. That. Is cool! :-D

    Ok, I am a little OCD, so this might excite me more than the average user. At work, for example, I keep my work related sites all collected in orderly tabs, and my personal email, games, etc., on tabs in a separate window. Two windows, multiple related tabs! Every once in a while, I accidentally open a tab in my work window for a personal venture, or I open a new window to get some work related info, and realize too late that I wish I would have added a new tab in the work window instead. For an organizational freak like me, it bugs me enough to start over so my windows are organized! Not so with Chrome! I really wonder why no one else has come up with this!

    And here’s a few “negative” aspects.

    *It’s REALLY plain. I was actually confused when I first opened the window. I think I’m so accustomed to having too many options that only having a select few left me nearly helpless! This is easily solved by becoming accustomed to using Chrome. Do not fear! Bookmarks, browsing history, private browsing, find, zoom, print, back, forward, refresh, stop, and go are all still there! :-)

    *Chrome does not automatically initiate a dial-up connection. I have checked, there’s no “connections” option in the Chrome settings. However, I didn’t set Chrome as my default browser, so this could be the reason, as there are “Internet Options” in the Control Panel. With my current setup, Chrome will simply give me a page not found error until I connect manually from network connections. This is not a big issue, just something I had to figure out.

    All in all, not a bad browser, especially if way too many toolbars and buttons annoy you. The light weight browser is fast, clean, and safe, and a great alternative for troubleshooting if your IE is slow or not functioning.

    Check out www.google.com/chrome for more details like security, downloading, and other settings, and to download Chrome on your computer.

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