Panning for Gold

As our blogs age, content gets buried in our archives. I suggest going through your older posts and find your favorites (find the gold) and pull them up for your audience. Your reader base has grown and many haven’t seen your older posts. I’m featuring a different post each week as I go through my older content. While doing this I ran into this timely advice on using the SEO Smartlinks wordpress plugin by Jack Spirko. I especially like his explanation on using custom links for your affiliate programs. I decided to make custom links for each featured older post as I replace it with a newly featured post. See the video.

What Happened to My Computer Screen?

A friend was over at my house and I was showing her how to do stuff on her laptop. Suddenly she hit something and she lost her tool bars. Frustrating for her until my youngest daughter calls out “Push f11”. . .

Hard time reading your computer screen? Just push “control +”
Simple stuff. Most of you may know this, this video is for those who don’t.

Next week’s video is for Rosie, long overdue, using Firebug to edit your wordpress themes. Very technical.

What’s Up with Me?

. . . butterflies? You’ll have to listen to my audio link below to find out.

[audio:http://connectsimply.com/mp3/mysummer.mp3]

and where I said 2 weeks of not being able to drive it was 2 months. Spent miuch time catching up on book reading, listening to various recordings, shows on the internet, watching my garden grow. Those butterflies love my mint plants.

Are Free WordPress Themes Really Free?

Are free WordPress themes really free?

Well, that depends. No upfront cost to you, but did the last person to modify the theme add anything nasty to it?

Now I don’t have a problem giving credit to a theme’s designer for their work with a link. I do object when they add some kind of Javascript where they control what links show up at their say so, even if the links are invisible to your average visitor, they aren’t invisible to the search engines.

Even worse is when some kind of spyware code is hidden somewhere in all the theme’s files, code which could say anything, do anything. You have no idea unless you decode what they’ve hidden.

Real life example:

http://www.free-wp-themes.com/wordpress/Andreas04/

DO NOT DOWNLOAD and use this theme without rewriting the entire footer.php file.

It contains some code which starts with

eval(gzinflate(base64_decode

and continues with a bunch of jumbled up letters and such. What does the code do? I don’t know, I’d have to decode it to find out but since it is code often used by hackers/spyware I don’t want it on any of my websites. So Do Not Download and use this theme as is from http://www.free-wp-themes.com/

In fact, I’d check any of the themes on their site very carefully before using, better yet, not use them at all. I checked out another theme they provide and found the same eval code in that footer too.

WordPress gets better all the time, you can now download free themes inside your wordpress admin panel under appearance. Next time you want a free theme, check out those. I’m not saying everyone that offers free wordpress themes embeds bad stuff into the code. Use caution, use trusted sources. I’d check out themes listed on Smashing Magazine, again, do your due diligence.

Another option is to pay for a premium theme from a trusted source such as the Arthemia Premium theme from Colorlabs and customize it for your needs. Check out WeMagazine for Women as a cool example.

Free isn’t always free. Use caution, use trusted sources.

Easter Morning

This week has been amazing, trees everywhere have decided to bloom, sprout leaves. Green everywhere. I couldn’t resist visiting out land, hoping I’d find some dogwood trees. I’ve always wanted dogwood trees, ever since I was little. If there weren’t any on my land, I’d plant some. Searching through the woods we found some. 🙂

Dogwoods have a legend which tie them to Christ, and they are often in bloom on Easter.
http://www.visualforces.com/christian/photography/nature/the-dogwood/

To me, it is the new life all around which reminds me of Christ and his love for all, how we too may be resurrected.

No matter your religion, go outside, breath in the fresh air, enjoy nature, meditate. Life is good!

Here’s the Valentine’s Card

Here is the Valentine’s card I sent my husband. He must of liked it because he had to take it to work to show everyone. It is still there. His co-workers said it looks like he was robbing the cradle, that I couldn’t have been much over 16. (I was actually almost 21).

Try it, take an older photo and turn it into a treasured greeting card. Very unique and personal. If you’d like to try an easy way to send a real physical photo greeting card, drop me a note and I’ll send you a link for a couple of free ones.

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The Ultimate Valentine’s Card

In grade school, Valentines was always fun. Cards from all your friends and classmates, candy hearts. My favorites were those who took time to pick a card they knew I’d like or write a special message just for me.

We all love to be surprised by Valentine’s. I just got a great idea for a card for my husband. I was going through old photo albums and ran into photos we’d right after our engagement. That was over 30 years ago. Now wouldn’t that photo make the great front of a Valentine’s day card? Very unique, I bet it is a keeper. Nope the ultimate Valentine’s card isn’t the one at the top, although that one is very cool, a creation of my oldest daughter’s, Jessica Sellers.

So what does my ultimate Valentine’s Day card look like? Can’t show you yet, my hubby gets first peek. I’ll update this post after Valentine’s so you can see it. However, just because it will be the perfect card for my husband, doesn’t mean it’ll be the ultimate card for yours, or your child, sister, best friend. Now if you found photos of them, added your own thoughts, wouldn’t that be the coolest card of all.

Need a way to create such a card? Contact me or go to http://connectsimply.com and fill out the form and I’ll give you a couple cards for trying out my favorite way to send real greeting cards.

Flashback February Challenge

Connect with your past. Write it down. Share with others. Remember who you were way back then.

Someone reminded me of the time we got stranded on a dark, frigid, deserted road. Some many memories came back of other road trips, no wonder my dad has gray hair. I even went back to old photo albums to find pictures of way back then, found pictures of old friends and good times.

Turn on the Juke Box (click on picture of various artists) and it’ll take you back in time, sit a spell. Read about my road trips starting with Road Trip Flashback Part 1. Yep, that means more to came, adding a road trip story each week throughout Flashback February.

The Challenge is this, read my post. What memories does it bring? Comment and/or add your story to the comments or write on your own blog and come back and post a link to your message. Invite your friends to do the same on their blogs. Become a part of Flashback February. I look forward to reading your stories.

Road Trip Flashback 1

College was miles away, at least 24 hours driving time. So we always shared rides for Christmas and summer break. We usually left right after finals. I pulled an all nighter, packing, cleaning, studying for that last final. My brother was driving and I crashed in the back seat, another friend riding with us. Couldn’t wait to be back home for Christmas.

Car stopped, I wake up. Where are we at? Middle of nowhere, New Mexico. Dark icy deserted road, bone chillin’ cold. We’d run out of gas! Yeah sure we could just call for help on our cell phones, but keep in mind, this was before such things. My backup plan was always find a payphone and call dad collect. How long will our battery last without gas? No flares in the car, emergency blinkers on. Maybe someone will notice and give us a hand. Open hood. Wait. . .

Wait. . .

Shiver. . . brrrrrrrrrrrr. . .

Wait. . .

Were we the only ones crazy enough to be out driving all night?

Lights! Finally a car. Surely they will stop. . . No such luck.

OK. maybe we aren’t obvious enough. Wait some more. Brrrrrrrrrr!

Next car that comes by we all get out and flag them down. Help! Can you help us?

Nice car stops, young couple driving through on way to Arizona. Relief. Can you help?

“Sorry, we are in a hurry and don’t have a spare gas can. Gas station is a few miles up the road. Tell you what we’ll do, when we stop at the next state we’ll call the state troopers and have them call New Mexico state troopers and maybe they can help. Bye.”

Dang! and here I thought they’d help us out. Could be hours before help arrives. And so we wait. . .

Car ride is long enough, but waiting in the car for who knows how long gets long quick. Never knew time could stretch so long.

What to do? My brother decides to walk to the gas station, after all, that car said it was only a couple miles up the road. Not comfortable with him on the road alone. Want company? No. Someone should stay with the car. Maybe a state trooper will show up. Nor did he want just one of us girls alone with the car.

As he walks out of sight, I get to thinking that wasn’t too smart an idea. Wind is picking up, getting colder out. Who knows where the gas station is at. I want to call him back, but too late. I hope and pray that he’ll be alright. Didn’t want him found as a frozen popsicle on the roadside come morning. And so we wait. . .

Lights! Really? Lights slow down. Is it the promised state troopers? Nope, that is an old pickup. Guy gets out, other girl takes one look and double checks the car locks. Help or someone out to do harm? I roll my window down. Even in the frigid air, I can smell alcohol on his breath.

“Can I help?” he asks.

I explain the situation.

“I can give you girls a ride to the gas station, pick up your brother along the way.” Discussion with other girl. Do we trust him? What if state troopers come by right after we leave? What if just one of us went? That seemed even less safe. Finally, no thanks, we’ll stay with the car in case promised help arrives. But if you could pick up my brother and give him a lift to the gas station, we’d be very grateful.

He agrees. We wait. . .

Still no troopers, but the pickup comes back with my brother, and gas! Happy days! Not only does he bring my brother back, with gas, but he hangs around and makes sure it starts. We offer him money but he refuses. Just happy to help us on our way. “Have a safe trip!” and so we do. 🙂

So many things could have gone wrong. I learned a couple of things:

It is especially important to keep an eye on your fuel gage, especially when the towns are few and far between.

Don’t judge people by their appearance. You never know where your true friends will come from.

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Click on the JukeBox below and listen to the tunes. Guess when the road trip took place. If you’d like to take part in the flashback challenge, go to http://www.connectsimply.com/blog/february-flashback-challenge/.