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Monthly Archives: February 2011

What Happened to All My Gmail Emails??? Oopps…

Published February 28, 2011 - 0 Comments

That’s what 150,000 Gmail users are saying… thankfully I’m not one of them! Mashable reports that 150,000 Gmail accounts were accidentally reset, wiping out all the email, attachments, and chat logs associated with those accounts, and replacing them with the friendly “Welcome to Gmail” screen you see when you open a new account…


We’re so used to being told that the “cloud” is the answer to everything now… save your information in the cloud, and access it from anywhere…  Yes, this does work extremely well.  Gmail is a perfect example of that.  You can check your email from home, at work, at a friend’s place, in an internet cafe while on vacation… with your PC, laptop, smartphone… everything is stored in a centralised location, accessible from anywhere with an internet connection…

Until something goes wrong.

Presumably everything is backed up to the nth degree, so Google engineers will no doubt be able to recover these accounts, and the information associated with them.  It’s an inconvenience at most, and one that will probably be repeated again at some point in the future. This isn’t the first time that cloud computing has failed.  It won’t be the last. The more we rely on the cloud, the more we accept the inherent risk that our data may not be there when we need it.

The Mashable post points out that there is a Gmail Backup program that can be used to perform one-click backups of your Gmail account.  I’ve never used this before, but it’s probably not a bad idea.  Then again, most people only give real consideration to proper backups after being forced to do so.

By then, it’s usually too late…

Pink – Fucking Perfect

Published February 25, 2011 - 0 Comments

I love Pink.  She always has so much to say, and isn’t afraid to say it.  I admire her for that.  Her latest song (and especially the video) is quite powerful.  It’s interesting to hear the different reactions from people the first time they’ve watched the video.  It’s definitely not light and fluffy.

As for me… physically this has been a good day.  What limited time I’ve been out of bed has been accompanied by noticeably less pain.  I’d say that things should get getting back to normal quite soon.  I did faint in the bathroom tonight, though.  I’ve never experienced that before.  Sudden feeling of being really warm, sweat rolling down my forehead, unable to keep my eyes open, and then boom… over I went…  Paul has no idea how close he came to finding me laying naked on the bathroom floor…  But I made it downstairs… no clothes (that should tell you how out of it I was) … and collapsed on my bed after telling him that I needed him to check on me before he crashed for the night…  and then I immediately fell asleep for hours.  And no, I have no idea what triggered it… I’ve never fainted before.

Mentally/emotionally, I’ve returned to my dark place… and I’m not happy about that.  I haven’t checked my emails/txts/tweets at all today… and if Paul wasn’t living in this house, I wouldn’t have spoken to anyone.  Unfortunately I can’t completely shut down, because my ex needs to be able to get a hold of me for the kids…  If it wasn’t for that, I’d be sitting in a communication black hole right now.  Perfect.

Fucking Perfect.

Need Help Keeping Track of Your Financials? Mint.com to the Rescue.

Published February 22, 2011 - 7 Comments

I’ve never been the best one to keep track of my expenses.  That might be part of the problem that led me to financial trouble… albeit not the overwhelming reason.  I’ve tried before to use different methods of tracking.  I bought a file cabinet.  I’ve used spreadsheets.  I’ve bought more than one version of Quicken.  I’ve tried to budget.  And like in so many other areas of my life, I start off well-intentioned, and eventually get sloppy and give up altogether.

Then I noticed something interesting… Mint.com is now available in Canada! If this means nothing to you, it should.  Mint.com is a company that was bought by Intuit (makers of Quicken).  They allow you to track all your financials in one easy to understand website that syncs with your banking institutions automatically to show you everything you need to make proper decisions regarding your money.  Best of all… It’s free!  Second best of all… there’s an iPhone app that syncs with your Mint.com account.  There’s even an Android app.

So what does Mint.com actually do that you can’t already do with your online banking or Quicken software?  Well, I know that Royal Bank now has free online software through their website that allows you to set up budgets and track expenses.  You can add accounts from other banks into your account listing (although I’m not sure if you can add that to the budget views or not).  Mint.com goes a step beyond that… I have ALL my different bank accounts as well as my Sunlife Financial retirement account, my TFSA account, my mortgage… everything… added to it.  It gives me access to everything.  My Canadian Tire Mastercard is there as well.  Not only do I see the balance of every single account, but I also get access to the transactions.  Royal Bank isn’t going to give me that stuff… especially the retirement accounts from Sunlife.  I imagine that Quicken does, but then again, the last time I looked at Quicken it was somewhere around $100.  Mint.com is free.

I haven’t gotten into the budget aspect yet, but I see that the program is automatically starting to build a profile of my spending habits.  It sends me an email if my account balance falls below a certain point.  It notifies me when my paycheque has been deposited, if I have spent an unusually large amount on something, if my banking fees are higher than projected, etc… all of these things are configurable, so you can turn them off one by one if you aren’t interested in the notifications.

Another of the interesting things is that Mint.com offers you suggestions where you could save money.  These are offers from different financial institutions, and presumably part of Mint.com’s monetization strategy.  I haven’t been blown away by anything that they’ve offered me, but you never know.  There might be something later.  They also include a section to enter your credit scores.  I need to update mine, so I’m not sure what effect that has on your Mint.com profile.

If you’re concerned about security (and you should be with anything you do online that involves your bank accounts) Mint.com is no less secure than any other online banking you already do.  And even if someone did gain access to you Mint.com account, they can’t actually move money from it.  Mint.com gives you a total view of your financial outlook, but you can not make changes from within Mint.com.  You can not transfer funds, pay bills, or modify your accounts in any way.

I’m really enjoying Mint.com… I know that it sounds weird, but I actually check my account through the day to see my networth status as it changes automatically depending on how my retirement account is doing.

I really think that it’s worth checking out.  It won’t cost you anything except a little bit of time to set up your accounts.

Life’s Outlook From the Viewpoint of the Bed

Published February 21, 2011 - 6 Comments

I don’t think that I’ve ever wanted to go back to work so badly.  OK, not true.  There was one other time that I was unable to work that I really wished I was back there… far more than right now.  But still, at this moment in time, I really wish that I was back to work.  Or. more accurately, I wish that I was healthy enough to go back  to work.  I don’t necessarily miss being at work… I just wish that I was in good enough shape that I could make the decision as to whether or not I wanted to be in attendance.  If anyone thinks that this is a great vacation… I’d love to switch places with you for a day.

So today I took a new picture.  It’s Day 12, and there is a significant improvement from the infamous Day 5 picture that I sent out last week.  It’s funny, you don’t really notice a huge change day by day… but when you look at two pictures side by side… well then there’s a huge difference.  Today the bruising actually looks more like bruising, and less like everything is simply dead and waiting to fall off.  Instead of black, it’s a combination of purple and blue with yellow at the edges… so that’s a good sign!

Pain wise, things are almost no different.  I’m still confined to bed.  I still switch ice packs regularly.  If I get up to use the bathroom, I am still in considerable pain by the time I get there.  If I’m laying down, the pain is almost non-existent… unless I move my legs somehow and squish parts that should not be squished.  Then I’m fighting tears.  But what I have noticed today that is a good sign… it used to be as soon as I stood up I had horrible pains as gravity took over and everything was pulled down… now I can almost make it to the bathroom before the pain becomes intense.  So the level of pain hasn’t changed at all, but it seems to take longer for it to hit me.  I’m hoping that means that something is healing inside… although the swelling is still there.  I’m very lopsided…

I’ve had a lot of time to consider things in my life.  There’s not too much to do while laying in bed.  I don’t seem to want to read.  I don’t really watch too much TV.  Thankfully I have my laptop and iPhone, so I don’t feel cut off from the rest of the world.  I tend to sleep way too much, and I don’t know if it’s a combination of all the different medications that I’m taking, plus boredom, plus the fact that I’m IN BED… My sleep schedule is a complete mess.  I’m just as likely to be awake at 3am as I am at 3pm.  I haven’t even really decided if I should be trying to keep myself on schedule, or just go with it… my body is in pain.. if it wants to sleep all day, then let it…  maybe that’s the wrong attitude, I really don’t know.

I’ve had a little disappointing insight into some areas of my life.  Chances are, if you’re reading this, it doesn’t pertain to you.  Recent events have really pulled the curtain back to expose the illusion… and that’s unfortunate.  But maybe it’s for the best.  I was under the assumption that certain things were one way… when obviously they are not.  I’m still the outside looking in, and maybe it’s best to be reminded of that.  Oh well… their loss.. not mine.

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering… remember that xx days Coke free?   Yeah… that went by the wayside as soon as this entire vasectomy disaster unfolded!  I rely on the sweet stuff to get me through… which reminds me, I think that it’s time to send the roomie to the store before it closes…

Misery Bear Goes to Work

Published February 19, 2011 - 4 Comments

One of my favourite recent finds on the net has got to be Misery Bear, which I discovered on Twitter.  As if his tweets aren’t awesome enough, he also has YouTube videos!  I didn’t realize that until just now…  here is the latest one… Misery Bear Goes to Work…  I’m pretty sure that we’ve all felt like this from time to time… well.. those of us who don’t have giant black balls and are still allowed to work…

Build It And They Will (not) Come…

Published February 19, 2011 - 2 Comments

Rather than go completely stir-crazy in bed, I’ve been spending some of my time working on Write-Click projects.  Seems like a better use of my time than watching episode after episode of TV shows.  Don’t get me wrong… I’m still watching some (when my roomie isn’t hogging the TV for his Football game… zzzzzzzzzzzz) but I’m fine with working on some of the projects that have been building up.

So last week I completed work on my first micro-niche site CureBrokenHeart.com.  Since then, I’ve watched the page tumble from Page 2 on Google search results to Page 7.  I’m not really sure what happened, but that’s fine.  I’m working on it.  But I thought that I would try something a little different, and turned to Google AdWords.

Google AdWords is the opposite of Google AdSense.  AdWords are the advertisers who buy space from Google that gets displayed as AdSense ads on websites and search results.  I’ve never worked with AdWords before, but I thought that I wanted to give it a try.  At some point I’m going to have to figure it out, because I can’t be successful online without a mixed strategy.. and advertising is obviously part of it.

So I purchased $50 worth of advertising, and set up my daily limit to be $10.  I realize that’s peanuts, but this was essentially a homework assignment.  I fully realized that my $50 was probably going to be lost, and I was right.

It didn’t take long for my $10 daily limit to reach its cap.  With thousands of impressions over the Google network, the clicks came in.  Unfortunately, when I looked at the traffic patterns, as far as I can tell, the majority of people did not stick on the website and explore what was there.  There were a few that did.  But not many.  And I suppose that is normal.  As they say, you have only seconds to gain someone’s attention, and just because they came to the site doesn’t mean that they saw anything there that interested them in those few seconds.  Of the ones who did look around, there were no sales.  I expected that as well.  Certainly would have been nice, but the numbers were too low to really warrant a sale.  The idea of the micro-niche site is to draw the user from organic search traffic, not PPC advertising.  So someone who saw the website in Google after typing “Cure Broken Heart” is more likely to buy the product than someone who was on another website and saw a Google AdSense ad saying “Broken Heart?  Click here to cure it!”.

It’s all about marketing, and it’s something that I have to get better at.  Building a site isn’t good enough… you have to get it out there, and in such a way that it gains the attention of the target audience… or else it’s just useless…

I have to get better.

Did He Just Send me a Picture of His Penis?

Published February 19, 2011 - 0 Comments

One of my best friends lives in the USA, and we don’t talk as much as I wish we did.  He doesn’t read my blog.  He doesn’t use Twitter.  He prefers to actually TALK, so…

I sent him a text message today, and he wrote me back saying that he was driving to his sister’s place in upstate New York, and was wondering if he could call me this weekend… he asked what my schedule was like for the weekend…

I laughed, and txted back “My schedule is pretty open!  I’m on bed rest.  You need to glance at the blog or twitter once in awhile”.

He obviously had no idea what was going on.  He tried to call, but didn’t have my home number.  So I txted it to him… and then I sent another txt with a picture I had taken at Day 5…

A couple of hours later he reached his sister’s house and called me.  It was a funny conversation…

Hutch: “So I’m driving down the highway, and I get your txt with the phone number…  and then I get another txt… and I’m looking at it while I’m driving and thinking Did he just send me a picture of his penis?  And what’s wrong with it?  Who has be been with, and what does he have???”

Yes that’s right… I have the bubonic plague on my penis… or at least that’s what it appears to the untrained eye.  🙂

He said that before he called me he went to the blog to see what was going on, so he was all up to speed before my phone rang.  I laughed when he told me what was running through his head as he was driving.  I can just imagine!

Good friend.  🙂

You’ve Got a Bleeder!

Published February 17, 2011 - 4 Comments

Yup.. that’s what the urologist told me when he turned around and saw me laying on the bed, exposed in all my glory.

It was a bit of a relief.  Yes, it would go away on its own.  Yes, it would continue to hurt for awhile longer.  Yes, I needed to stay in bed and not do anything to aggravate it.  No, I was not going back to work until he cleared me… a minimum of two weeks from now.

It certainly could have been worse.  As calm as I’ve been over the last week, I’ve still ran dozens of different scenarios through my head… and not all of them had happy endings.  This bleeding problem didn’t seem to faze the urologist at all.  Let it run its course… look, there is some yellow bruising already, so it’s starting to recede.

He prescribed me some antibiotics, and I mentioned the percocets were getting a little low, so he wrote another one for those.  When he told me that I couldn’t go back to work, I mentioned that they had been pretty good up until then, but if I needed another 2 weeks off, chances are they were going to require some paperwork.  I wouldn’t want my boss thinking that I was out joyriding in this beautiful February weather.

Sure enough, not only do I need paperwork, but the company is also placing me on short-term disability.  That kinda sucks.  I believe that will cut into my pay, but thankfully it’s only one paycheque that’s affected.  (I hope)

And… although I’m still in a considerable amount of pain… the good thing is that I’m no longer worried about my boys falling off in the middle of the night after becoming dead husks…  that unpleasant thought has been running through my mind almost constantly since last week!

Tomorrow We Get Some Answers…

Published February 17, 2011 - 3 Comments

I like to use the Royal “we” a lot…   no one else really needs answers, except for me… although there are certainly people who are just as curious about what’s going on south of my equator as I am!

Today was considerably more painful than any of the days prior.  I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.  If it keeps up, it will definitely give the doctor something to work with tomorrow.  My appointment is at 11:30, so you can expect to see something posted in the afternoon.

I sent my boss an email today warning him that it was extremely unlikely that I would be back to work for Saturday.  In fact, I can really see me taking the entire shift off again.  And anyone who thinks that this is a great way to get some paid time off work…  umm… no….   those people who have seen the pictures know what I’m talking about.  It ain’t pretty.  Today I spent almost all my awake time laying in bed on my left side, because to do anything else hurts quite a bit.  Getting up is excruciating.  Sitting on the toilet makes me want to cry.  Oh, I did manage to fall asleep in the bathtub today.  It was rather soothing.. everything floats so there’s very little pressure.  Gravity is NOT my friend.

Off to dreamland now.

Thanks for reading!

How Open is Your Internet?

Published February 16, 2011 - 15 Comments

Mashable posted today an interesting article on how open (or not) internet connections are within countries.  By “open” they are referring to the level of censorship that takes place on the internet.

While I find it interesting that Canada and the USA rate as “some censorship”, I’m not really surprised.  There are some things that should be blocked.  Where I was surprised was with regards to Australia being listed as “under surveillance”.  I’m not sure what’s up with that.  A quick look at some of the other countries listed in the same category, and you can kinda piece it together… but Australia?  What are those crazies Down Under hiding?

I think I’ll ask a couple of them before I allow my mind to rest easy… my parents’ trip is coming up very soon, and I don’t know if I’m comfortable allowing them to go into Communist Australia…

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