Sep 01

Card Hunter Needs to Release for iOS

Lately I have been playing Card Hunter when I can on my spare time, the combination of card game with Dungeons and Dragons Role Playing elements, make the game more fun than your basic turn based card game where you merely use your cards to defeat your opponents cards or hero.  In card hunter you have player characters who collect equipment and the equipment provides cards that your characters draw during turns in combat, the intricate types of spells, weapons, attacks, ranges, armor, blocks and more make the game very entertaining, it reminds me of playing the old board game Heroes Quest except with cards used for actions in combat.

The game is completely free to play and there is no time limits on how much you can play for free, you simply can enjoy it as long as you have a browser that supports Flash which is the crux of the problem.  The new 64 bit Chrome browser doesn’t support flash, nor does any Android or iOS browser natively.  The game simply only works under PC browser and they really should update it to HTML5 or make an iOS and Android compatible version of the game, it is well worth it and easily adapting the right click functions to double click or depressing the finger should be fairly intuitive to port.

Overall, when I am not playing Hearthstone or want something that is more of a cross between an RPG and a card game, I turn to Card Hunter and if you haven’t had the chance to play it yet, then it is worth checking out.  I love how you can go back daily and do the quicker dungeons, some of which only take 2-3 minutes to complete so you really can play in small time chunks which is all that I have available lately.

Learn more and play now at http://game.cardhunter.com/ it is worth checking out, trust me.

Aug 29

Image Elevator Plugin Upgraded to Extended License

For those of you who follow my different blog channels, you know I have talked about the Image Elevator for WordPress already when I first reviewed the free version, then bought the single license and did a full review of that one.  This included a full video demonstration which I will also include here in case you missed it.

Well, the creators of the plugin were so appreciative of my review and detailed coverage that they contacted me and upgraded my license to the extended version free of charge, which means I get to use the premium version of Image Elevator on all of my blogs instead of just DragonBlogger.com which was the primary site where I found the best use for the plugin since I do a lot of screen captures for software and freeware tutorials…etc.

But I also thought how beneficial it would be for my Poetry blog when I need to capture some images/photo’s…etc from the creative commons without having to go through the hassle of saving and downloading them, then uploading them.  There are tons of other uses as well, but there are risks when using this plugin that bloggers should know.  Those are that images are still copyrighted, and when you have the ability to so quickly and easily cut/paste an image from the screen directly into your WordPress blog you may be tempted to just cut/paste an image from anywhere including Google Images or other image searching sites.

You still have to be concerned with image copyright, so make sure you stick to creative commons, public stock images and other things to cut/paste if you are going to use Image Elevator to cut/paste stock photography.  You don’t have to worry about it if you are cutting/pasting portions of software, or your own screen captures, game footage…etc however so unless you are using stock photography specifically you should be OK, though remember you shouldn’t poach an image from another site if you don’t know the source of the image.

This for example was ruled a public domain image because the monkey took a photo of himself!  So cut/pasting this image is fair game.

If you find yourself having to save images, click Add Media in the WordPress editor, click upload just to add images to your posts, you will greatly benefit from the Image Elevator plugin which is well worth the $13 for a single site license.  It also means with this plugin there is almost no reason to use Windows Live Writer anymore vs directly writing your articles in WordPress now.

 

 

Aug 20

The Evolving Advertising and Marketing Landscape

It is over the course of the last week and participating in a few surveys, campaigns and seeing some interesting new interactive commercials on video on demand stations that had me thinking on how advertising is evolving not only for an Internet generation but a Internet Media Consuming generation. I found that some of the most engaging types of advertising were not simply static commercials like traditional TV spots but interactive ones that inspire or creatively provide information with teasers to engage and learn more.

This can be from what looks to be a video commercial that interrupts your TV Show watching on a VOD network from the TV stations, where the video mixes with information, text and links as well as questions and accepts your input/answers, even spawning a new tab so that you can check out the advertisers product later at your leisure. I think potentially tying this further into where you are signed up for the service, and your email or social network connected and if you have interest, you can simply opt to receive a notification later so you don’t have to interrupt your show watching and play it later.

There was even a clever commercial I saw by Red Robin where they introduced a “Skip This Ad” button that rolled out during the commercial, but the button would just spawn a popup window to their advertising page in a new window and not actually skip the commercial. It is a clever ploy for sure, though maybe not one to repeat too often as fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

For brand marketing, we already know that if someone who is a friend of yours recommends, likes or is show to be affiliated with a brand it is more likely to influence you to be favorable toward that brand as well, or check it out or ask questions from your friend about the brand. You see Facebook leveraging this by showing who you know that likes brand pages and ads, and it is effective. You also see more brands partnering with Social Media personalities and influencers to help raise brand awareness and run campaigns that arent simply point and click promotions, but established relationship and branding that takes place over a duration of months much like a celebrity who was hired to do a series of commericals or be a spokesperson for a brand in traditional commercials.

How often now are we seeing product placement as well now, in both TV Episodes and Webisodes of shows but also product placement in games are starting to make an all time high. For the people who envy their hero character or favorite games, sometimes getting your brand shown especially tied to a memorable experience in the game can be something that leaves a lasting impression.

What are some of the more creative advertising campaigns you have seen online that stopped and make you think favorably about the company or brand?

Aug 13

Now Have Dedicated IP For SendinBlue Mail Campaigns

Apparently people don’t either remember they agree to be added to the Dragon Blogger Newsletter, or just don’t like that we send out 1 newsletter per month with a list of giveaways we are running and other useful info because the last Newsletter that went out in July got my account banned for having too many people click Junk/Spam and flagging the SendInBlue shared IP potentially damaging the trust by ISP’s. 

As a result, to reactivate my account I now had to pay for a dedicated IP, $145 for the year which is not a fun fee to pay, though it pales compared to the full $400 plus per year I would have to pay to send over 20,000 email entries per month for other providers, and now it does give me the option to send more emails more frequently.

It was a little bit of a complicated setup, but I am very comfortable modifying DNS Zone Records and they give pretty good instructions on how to manually configure, plus they will host the subdomain for you as most hosting providers don’t let you set custom NS (Name Server) records for a sub domain, only for a primary hosted domain.  So in this case with Bluehost, I had to have news.dragonblogger.com hosted over at SendInBlue and then have various ZONE records setup so that SendInBlue was in charge of that subdomain.

Meanwhile, I also registered for DKIM and authority for my email so that it added assurance and maybe my future newsletters won’t generate so many junk email flags to hurt the reputation of this IP and subdomain which is starting from scratch.  Seriously though, don’t know why I had to shell out so much extra money just to send newsletter to the fans to remind them of the giveaways and some articles, is like paying twice just to help give stuff away.  The newsletter has to have an ROI where it brings more visits and potentially more clicks to our sponsors or else it won’t pay for itself and will be a negative asset instead of a positive one for the site. 

Meanwhile, I do think if you run a massive newsletter a dedicated IP is an eventual thing, I run a dedicated IP for all of my hosting, so it was inevitable I would run for my news and email mailing list too.  I just was hoping not to have to have done it yet.  I do like how SendInBlue will auto blacklist emails that flag and unsubscribe so they won’t ever be contacted again, you can’t even re-add them accidentally since they are listed in a special blacklist.  This prevents accidentally getting a repeat offense, but it means people who sign up for the giveaways and give permission to join the mailing list, only to flag it as spam can never be re-added to the mailing list.

Oh, well I am going to add another clause to the giveaways that says all emails will be scanned in the mailing list and if your email is on the blacklist, you are ineligible for being a winner.  I still like SendInBlue and am not faulting them for the junk rate, it wasn’t their problem that readers did that.

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They still have great rates, easy to use Newsletter configurations and very easy to work with support.  Their rates are fantastic and they actually provide a dedicated IP to anyone who subscribes to the Gold or higher plan anyway.  I just happen to be the Bronze plan where I can send 60,000 emails per month.  If I ever get large enough to send 120,000 emails per month, I will upgrade the plan.

Aug 12

A Day Without Wi-Fi

So when I arrived Sunday in CA I knew that I would have to go nearly an entire day with no Wi-Fi and unfortunately the cell phone signal is very weak around this area which means mobile hotspot is virtually unusable and even the normally fast LTE network on my Verizon cell phone is sputtering at an alternating 1X and 3X signal.  This means very very limited Internet access with brief ability to respond or status on FB, check an email or two and text/Skype a message or two to my kids back in Arizona.

Sunday was not so bad, and I was almost ecstatic when one of my neighbors gave us the password to their Wi-Fi only to find out that it was turned off, and they didn’t know how to turn it back on and get it online while their son was away.  This meant I was back to virtually no Internet access, mobile hotspot would get page cannot be displayed even trying to load Google to search for Cox website to try and bribe them to come out in an earlier time slot to repair the line.

I am about as Internet addicted as they come, showing all the classic signs and stages of addiction when losing access to my Internet life line.  It isn’t just that I need Internet for my day job (I telecommute, therefore I always need an active Internet connection for work) but I also consume and generate so much online activity that I feel empty and bored without having access to it.

Denial

This can’t be, how can the Internet not be working?  I scanned all Wi-Fi networks in the neighborhood in the hopes that some poor schlub wasn’t securing theirs and I could piggy back off of it, no luck everyone is at least bright enough to use WPA2 and not use the default router name/passwords in this neighborhood and I won’t stoop low enough to try and brute force my way into another’s Wi-Fi network.  I retraced all cox lines, tried everything possible to get some sort of online light on the router.  Heck, if I had enough Coax cable, I would have crimped new heads and ran a new line out to the box.

Disbelief

I can’t believe I can’t get online, I simply am like shocked that there isn’t a way I can connect, unbelieving that the mobile hotspot is so damn slow and just like “I can’t believe this” repeatedly.  For the first time in years I went to bed at 8pm just because I was bored (I happened to have an ear infection and lung infection too) but hoping sleeping the time away would make my Internet come back faster.

Anger

Frustration and anger sets in, I can’t believe stupid wall jack won’t give me Internet.  Anger that my Verizon phone signal is so weak in this house that the mobile hotspot is like a 300 baud modem, can’t even load 1 email every 3 minutes.  Clenching and unclenching fists in frustration on how to get back online.

Acceptance

Finally the acceptance comes and I start to think about how much productivity and what I can do while I have no Internet, like finish writing my mid year reviews at work, write several blog posts and queue them as draft for when I get online again (like this one) and eat breakfast and talk to my wife a bit before the contractors come.

By the time this is publishes my Wi-Fi would have been restored, but this is obviously a problem with me and I recognize this.  Actually had I not had to work today and this Internet connection reducing me to being only able to join conference calls and limited email responses, I would have probably been fine, I can take a PTO day, go for a 1 hour job, enjoy the beach, but it is mostly because I have to work that this really frustrated me so much.

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