Short Weekend and a Happy Halloween

Have had a stiff neck all weekend and am going to desperately try to get a Chiropractic appointment in today if I can.  Also ate some food which upset my stomach yesterday so had to sleep on floor last night and feeling generally miserable all around.

I am hoping to feel better to take the kids trick or treating this afternoon as I promised to hit as many houses as possible.  Not only do they want the treats (we don’t let them keep that many), but a local Dental office is giving $1 per pound of candy that is brought in from kids.  My kids are hoping to collect 5-10 pounds of candy each so they can get the $5 – $10 from the Dentist office.

They care more about trading the candy in for some cash than the candy itself which is kind of funny.  Meanwhile, I don’t eat too much candy myself though my weakness is Twizzlers and I tend to keep and consume every Twizzler that collects in any trick or treat bags.

Anyway, though the weekend in Encinitas was great (minus my stiff neck) came back already needing recovery.  Here’s to hoping the adjustment fixes my neck problems (which I think I hurt working out last week).

-Justin Germino

Top 99 Blogs to Guest Post or Comment On

Another great article on BloggerJet last week when Tim compiled a list of the top 99 best blogs to guest post on, particularly if you are in the blogging / seo / social media categories.  The list included metrics including PageRank, Alexa rank, # of RSS Subscribers and sorted all blogs by lowest Alexa rank (most popular) to highest.

My technology and entertainment blog DragonBlogger.com made #54 in the top 100 blogs which included such giants as SEOMoz, Problogger and Social Media Examiner.

Not only are these excellent blogs to consider some of your best guest post article writing for, but because these are top blogs as far as traffic, readership and fans they are excellent blogs to regularly comment on.  As readers get familiar with your name and comments you may be able to establish yourself and even possibly bring a following back to your site.

imageI wound up getting several hundred referral visits back to my site from Problogger.net a few months ago from a single comment I made on one article.  Imagine multiplying this across four or five articles across 40+ sites, this could be thousands of referral visits just from commenting and engaging with others on blogs.

I highly recommend you get the list of Top 99 Blogs to Guest Post On from Tim Soulo and remember to Tweet it which gives you an excel spreadsheet you can download and instantly cut/paste the URL’s from or sort however you like.

BTW, though Tim Soulo has a relatively new blog with BloggerJet, I can honestly tell you I have seen some of the highest quality articles on his site that I have ever read.  Each article does a great job informing as well as entertaining it’s readers and even though some of the content may be already known by experienced bloggers the refreshing approach and depth of information Tim brings to his blog are top notch. 

-Justin Germino

Saving Money by Cutting the Cable or Satellite Bill

I just couldn’t justify paying nearly $100 per month for satellite TV service to 3 TV’s in my house anymore so I was looking for a better and alternative way to still get to watch a ton of content (Movies and TV Shows) while reducing my overall monthly expenses.

I had already owned 2 Roku XDS boxes, and had the Netflix service but I found if I added Hulu+ as well then I had access to much more immediate TV Shows and Seasons than you could find on Netflix.  So here is how I worked my plan.

I stripped out almost my entire TV package down to only my bare minimum channels, and removed service from 2 of the 3 TV’s in my house.  I now use Netflix / Hulu Plus only for the Kid’s television and they can get all the kid’s shows and movies they want and aren’t affected much.  With Hulu Plus channel coming to the Nintendo Wii soon they can even get easier access to the Hulu Plus TV shows as well.

So, with Netflix and Hulu Plus I am paying about $19 per month or so for those two services, but I also reduced my satellite bill by over $60 by reducing the number of streams and channel packages.  This gave me a net savings of about $40 every month just by making this arrangement.

I did find that I couldn’t replace satellite completely, the lack of LIVE TV on Roku makes it impossible for CNN junkies like my wife and I to watch real time news if I were to cut my satellite completely.  But I was able to save quite a bit and every little bit helps.

So live news and local channels (I can’t pick anything up with HD Antenna for some reason) are the only reason I really am keeping a Satellite TV subscription at this time.

-Justin Germino

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Twitter Similar To Feature Lacking

Was looking at my follow bloggers trying to leverage Twitter’s “Similar To” feature to find other bloggers of interest to follow and network with and found the feature to be less than helpful.

Was checking out @TycoonBlogger and found the following recommended because they were similar to @TycoonBlogger or at least Twitter thinks so:

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Now I did more experimentation too see if such oddities would be suggested with @JohnAguiar @Kikolani @Ileane @Growmap or some of the other big bloggers and social media personalities that I follow.

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I didn’t find any more humorous ones, but I did find that Similar To needs to have better filtering.  For one thing, locked accounts shouldn’t show up when they aren’t public.  For another they should check to see the follower status of an existing account and if < a certain amount then they shouldn’t recommend it as an account to follow.  Seriously it is pretty easy to find useless accounts, and the Klout Chrome plugin is really helpful as you pretty much know an account with a score of 5 or under will almost always be either a new account or 99% a bot or spam account.

The other thing is just hitting page refresh re-orders the list each time and takes off the accounts you are already following or chose to follow, so you can find some good matches but you have to be thorough enough to read their bio’s and look at the user’s tweet history if you want to find/follow people based on the default Twitter Similar To feature.

-Justin Germino

CenturyLink Teases with 40M+

So the other day a CenturyLink guy comes to my door saying that they finally upgraded the lines in the neighborhood and now are offering the CenturyLink 40M+ broadband package.  This is 40Mbps downstream and 5Mbps upstream and had a fantastic introductory rate for 1 year.  I was very excited even though it meant I would have to buy a DSL router and disconnect my cable modem service but the price and speed were both better than what I was currently getting with Cox Communications at the time.

I have a lot of internet heavy devices in my household, including:

  • 3 laptops
  • 1 Desktop PC
  • 2 iPad’s
  • 2 Roku XDS boxes (streaming Netflix, Hulu+ or Amazon Prime Video)
  • 1 Wii
  • 1 Xbox360

The computers are always on and connected to the internet and my kids are usually streaming a movie on the Nintendo or Roku when they are home (we don’t have cable TV or satellite in their rooms anymore so they exist only on internet TV content for the kids rooms).

So, needless to say I hog bandwidth and the 40mpbs was nearly double my bandwidth plan currently with Cox.

I was all set to sign up and the CenturyLink technician called his center only to find out that the 40M+ cut off about 4 houses down on my street, and that my house was only able to get the 20M with 896kbps upstream which was much lower than my current plan (upstream).  It is lame that they can have the better plan for only 1/2 of a street in the first place, but even worse is that their door to door guy didn’t know and was so excited to sell a plan only to find out it wasn’t available and lose the order.  The guy’s time wasn’t wasted, I was educated about it coming to the area but he didn’t make a sale.

Meanwhile, I am hoping the lines get upgraded and the 40M+ does become available at my house in the near future (I was told to check back monthly).  Until then I just got a tease about the CenturyLink 40M+ and was told I could have it, but alas it isn’t available at my house.  The guy even told me “The house 5 doors down is for sale, just buy that one and move in there”.  Which I didn’t think was overly funny.

-Justin Germino